1 medium butternut squash (about 2 ½ pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large, yellow, or sweet white onion, chopped
1 medium apple, any variety, diced
2 cups prepared vegetable broth, or 2 cups water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube ( I like to use Better Than Boullion paste), or chicken broth if you prefer
2 teaspoons curry powder or 2-3 tablespoons green curry paste for a spicy Thai flavor
2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger, or more, to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg or allspice
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (Thai Kitchen is my favorite brand)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¾ cup raw peanuts or pecans, roughly chopped
¾ cup unsweetened raw coconut flakes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon neutral-tasting or melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon sugar
10 lime leaves, or mint leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
Handful of Thai or Italian basil leaves
2 tablespoons Spicy Chili Crisp
2 to 3 limes, quartered
- To bake the squash, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and place halves, cut side down on a foil-lined baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a knife. Using a paring knife, remove the skin and set the squash aside.
- Prepare the garnish: In a small bowl, toss together nuts, coconut flakes, fish sauce, oil, the sugar and the lime leaves, if using. If using mint leaves, do not add these until just before serving. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake at 300 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring after the first 10 minutes. Remove from oven when coconut is deep golden brown and pour mixture immediately into a bowl to prevent overcooking. Add the Spicy Chili Crisp and the mint if using. Stir to combine and set aside.
- While the garnish is cooking, place the oil and the onion in a large soup pot over medium low heat and sauté until the onion is soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the apple, squash, broth, and spices. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook gently until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Insert an immersion blender into the pot and process until pureed. Alternatively, process the solids in a blender and return them to the pot.
- Stir in the coconut milk and return the soup to a gentle simmer. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until well heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, ladle soup into each bowl. Serve with the pecan topping and lime wedges on the side.