This is one of my favorite soups to make, and every time I do it gets a great response as it hits all this high notes of a great dish – savory, spicy, slightly sweet and extremely tasty. It was inspired by a soup I saw our dear friend, Chef Andrew Ormsby, make on the air once with Gary on “Good Morning Texas.” This time I added a garnish of lime and basil scented lump crab meat, adding an extra layer of richness to the divine flavors. Serve with a floral, melon filled Viognier or Reisling to cut through some of the Thai spice.
Spiced Butternut Squash Soup with Lump Crab Meat
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or olive oil, I just like the neutral flavor of grapeseed oil)
1 large yellow onion – chopped
2 large cloves of garlic – minced
2 ribs celery – diced
2 carrots – diced
2 large butternut squash – peeled, seeds removed and chopped into small cubes – or four 10 ounce bags of chopped frozen butternut squash.
1 14 ounce can puree of pumpkin
1 tablespoon dried Italian spices
1 bunch cilantro – chopped
2 tablespoons Asian chile-garlic sauce or Sambal (this is a lot…and it is hot..but I like a lot…adjust amount to your taste)
6 cups chicken stock + 1/2 cup if needed (feel free to use low sodium)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos…best one out there without all the stuff in most soy sauces…this one is just soy beans)
2 cans lite coconut milk
1 1/2 cup heavy cream (I have also used fat free half and half and it works just as well without compromising on the flavor)
Salt and Pepper to taste
8 ounces lump crab meat, picked free of shells and rinsed
2 tablespoons finely julienne basil
zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
In a large stock pot or dutch oven saute the onions, celery, carrots and garlic in the 2 tablespoons oil until soft, about 10 minutes. If the mix gets too dry add in a touch of chicken stock instead of additional fat. Once soft add in the butternut squash, dried herbs, cilantro and chile sauce. If you are using frozen the squash will melt in pretty easily; if using fresh cook until it starts to soften. Add in chicken stock, soy sauce and season with pepper to taste. Fold in the pumpkin puree and whisk together to incorporate. Add in coconut milk and bring to a soft boil, stirring to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom. After the soup has reduced a bit (maybe by 1/3 cup-1/2 cup) turn the heat off and let cool. Once cool puree in blender in batches, until smooth, to your taste. I like a little texture so I don’t go completely smooth, but the flavor won’t change no matter how smooth it is. Once fully pureed pour back in the pot and stir in the cream or half and half. Bring back up to a simmer, adjust the seasonings and simmer until ready to serve, whisking together occasionally. Whisk well prior to serving to ensure all flavors are fully incorporated.
For the crab – carefully fold in the lime, zest and basil with a healthy dash of salt and pepper, to your taste, to the crab meat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, ladle a large scoop of hot and creamy soup into a shallow soup bowl and top with a healthy spoonful of cold crab in the center.