She’s not chewing well (actually, she doesn’t have many teeth left) and can’t eat much. We’ve had many Thanksgiving dinners at restaurants in years past where the creamy pumpkin soup drew oohs and ahhs from Helen. With that in mind, I decided to make a creamy squash soup from a Williams Sonoma cookbook appropriately titled Autumn. The 1997 recipe called for acorn squash but that’s so 20th century. I opted to mix locally grown butternut and red kuri squash (a.k.a. Japanese, uchuri kuri, and Hokkaido squash), two types of winter squash with wonderfully sweet, nutty flesh.
I followed the recipe, roasting the squash to intensify its flavor and then adding it to a base of sautéed onions, bacon, and butter. Chicken stock was added for liquid. As the soup simmered, I tasted it and thought it a little blah. A bit split pea soup-ish. Hankering for a little Southeast Asian punch, I went into the yard, plucked 6 kaffir (makrut) lime leaves, ran back inside and threw them into the pot. I retrieved a chunk of galangal that I’d just thrown into the compost pail, and then quickly rinsed, smacked, and threw it into the pot for earthy depth. (Don’t be alarmed, it hadn’t been in the compost pail for long.)