Friday, October 03, 2008

Inspired by Bar Food

It is rare that I find myself inspired by bar food. Regular, run of the mill, anonymous, non-fancy bar kind of food. Rare, but not unheard of.

I spent a horribly rainy afternoon in an Irish pub by my house, watching a British soccer (oooh, I mean futbol) match, drinking beer (like it’s abnormal to drink beer at 3PM on a Saturday. In a bar. Please.), and snacking on surprisingly good French fries. A lady who was quite obviously a regular at the bar (which is sad in its own right, for a Saturday afternoon) recommended I get a side of curry sauce for the fries, a British tradition I have never quite understood. However, when informed by a haggard-looking bar regular, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, that I should be eating my French fries covered in curry sauce, then that’s what I do.

And you know what? It was pretty good! I have absolutely no idea what was in it, besides copious amounts of cream, I am sure, but it was smooth and slightly sweet, it was perfect for dipping thin, crunchy fries. Not nearly spicy enough, but it never is. Right there, on the spot, facing the onset of tipsiness and autumn, I started to crave curried squash soup.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it for the next few days. I made it the first chance I could, with the autumn squash that has been arriving in my Boston Organics boxes as of late. Smooth and rich, with a bit of a kick and freshness from the herbs, it was autumn, right there, on my table. I am not entirely ready for autumn yet, but it appears I am ready for the food. It’s going to be soups and more soups from now until next June. Good thing I wasn't craving the potato skins. [Shudder].

Curried Squash Soup
1 med acorn squash and 1 med dumpling squash (though you could use one large butternut squash instead – it is fabulous with curry powder - or all acorn, whatever you have)
1 large onion
2 tbsp curry powder
chili powder, to taste
chicken stock or water
handful of fresh cilantro
3 or 4 stalks of green onion

- Preheat onion to 425F
- Cut squash open, quarter, and scoop out the seeds.
- Rub with olive oil, salt and pepper, place cut side down on baking sheet and roast until tender and browned. Try to stop yourself from tearing off all the brown, sweet, crunchy bits and eating them on the spot. You need them to make the soup sweet(er). Let cool and scoop out flesh. Or burn your fingers, if you’re me.
- Chop onion roughly and sautee in olive oil till soft and translucent, about 5 min.
- Sprinkle with curry and chili powders, stir about and allow the spices to toast for a few minutes.
- Add cooked squash, squish it a bit and stir around till you get bored. Then add chicken stock/water to cover the squash by about an inch.
- Add salt and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
- Puree and thin out with stock/water to desired consistency
- Toss in herbs, season with salt and paper.
- Photograph aggressively.
- Eat on couch, blanket on lap.


JC said...

The curry fries sound really good! I need to find some of those. But the soup sounds even better, and actually looks like something that even I could make. I loves me some soup.

Neha said...

Butternut squash soup is hands down my fav wintertime soup, and the kick with curry sounds fantastic. Yours looks absolutely delicious! And the recipe seems like something my ADD can handle. I can smell it already....

Anna said...

JC - Curry fries were good... after the second beer. They are, apparently, a very Irish (!) thing.

Neha - Hi! You don't have ADD. Don't front. You're a doctah. You're smaht. I love butternut squash soup. Love it. It smells like winter to me though, and I am not emotionally prepared for winter.

paintergirl said...

sister-this is one of my fav soups. now if I could just make it cooler weather here.