This is a fabulous soup adapted from the “Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta~Recipes from the World-Famous Spa” cookbook.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 4 cups)
1 apple, cored, peeled, and diced
2 leeks, white part only, washed and sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons thai red curry paste (see note below~using this much is extremely hot)
4 cups basic vegetable stock (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Vegetable Broth)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt, or more to taste
thinly sliced chives
thin strips of orange zest (optional)
1. In a 4 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the squash, apple, leeks, carrot, celery, and basil and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened; do not brown. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the stock, water, brown sugar, and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft.
2. Cool for 30 minutes, then , in a blender or in the bowl of a food processor, puree until absolutely smooth.
3. Reheat and taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed. Serve very hot, with a sprinkling of chives and the orange zest, if desired.
Thai red curry paste is sold in small jars in the grocery store in the International section. It is very hot and spicy. I would start out trying a very little and taste for more heat if you like. I used a quarter of what the recipe calls for and it was still very peppery. This paste will keep for months in your refrigerator.