November 15, 2011

Holidays on Spice

this holiday season

Raghavan Iyer, the curator of curries, whose books and classes brighten our plates, is packaging his magic in a line of amazing spices called Turmeric Trail. Each blend represents the different regions of India. Each blend warms and enlivens a variety of dishes from traditional curries to a simple squash soup. There are plenty of recipes on Turmeric Trail's website, but the real fun comes when they're use to zip up a familiar dish. Here, the Garam Masala sparks a simple squash and apple soup. 

Squash & Apple Soup
with Garam Masala

Serves 6

1 medium red kuri or butternut squash, about 2 pounds, cut in half and seeded
Sunflower or olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons Garam Masala, or more to taste
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup fresh apple cider
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, or more to taste
1/2 cup strained Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle the cut side of the squash with oil and turn it cut-side down on a baking sheet, and bake until it's soft, about 30 to 45 minutes.

While the squash in baking, film a heavy soup pot with a little oil and set over medium low heat. Add the onions, garlic, apples and spice mix, and toss to coat. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and cider and simmer until the ingredients are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven, scoop the meat from the skin, add it to the pot.

For a smooth soup, puree the mixture using an immersion blender or process it in a blender in batches. For a chunky soup, mash all the ingredients together with a potato masher. Season the soup with salt and if you'd like, a little more spice mix. Whisk in the cilantro and serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

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