Dried Orange Peel

Dried Orange Peel

Mise en place Wellness

Dried Orange Peel: Before you peel or cut your organic oranges, remove the thin strips with a peeler. Place the strips separately on a towel/paper towel in an open dish. Leave them out to dry for 3-4 days. Once they are completely dry, put them airtight jar.  Dried orange peels have a deep flavor which are a great ingredient for savory or sweet recipes. You can zest or grind the peels or add them whole into sauces or stews.

For my autumn-winter smoothies, which during the cooler temperatures I consume close to room temperature, I toss in half an orange strip, a generous amount of cinnamon and at least a 1/2-inch slice of ginger. Orange peel helps improve digestion and sluggishness in the gut, and ginger and cinnamon are both warming spices that make the smoothie more digestible during the season.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Mains & Sides Recipe

Warming Soup for the Cold Season

To start the New Year off, I’m sharing one of my favorite soups – curried butternut squash soup. The vibrant, roasted butternut squash combined with a blend of fragrant spices are enough to make you warm and cozy during the chilly season. I’ve made many variations, but for the past few years I’ve refined this one to my liking. It’s a simple soup that can be served on it’s own or paired with any meal. I love it with fish and a green vegetable.

The original recipe of inspiration was sent to me from a friend almost 10 years ago. I believe it called for peeling, cutting and roasting the squash, and I know it had cream and either sugar or honey added. When it comes to soup or purée, I lean toward less labor and roast the squash whole. I also prefer my creamier soups slightly lighter that many recipes call for. The curry blend is superb, and I’ve never changed it.

If you try this recipe, make your preferred revisions. However, if you don’t roast the squash whole as I do, I suggest roasting the first four spices for a smoother grind. Plus, it will make the kitchen smell wonderful!

• 3 Tbs coriander seed
• 1 ½ tsp cumin seed
• 1 tsp mustard seeds
• 1 tsp fennel seeds
• 1 ½ tsp whole black peppercorn
• ½ heaping tsp whole clove
• 1 tsp fenugreek seed
• 2 Tbs ground turmeric
• 2 tsp chili powder
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• 1 butternut squash (2.5 to 3 lb)
• 1 Tbs olive oil
• 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus more for thinner texture if desired
• 1 to 2 Tbs butter
• ¾ cup half and half
• Salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Puncture the butternut squash a few times and place on a baking sheet. Roast until squash is fork tender, about 60 minutes.

Once the butternut squash is done, cut it in half and allow it to cool until it can be safely handled. Remove and discard the seeds. Scoop out the flesh from the skin.

Meanwhile, on low heat roast coriander, cumin, mustard seeds and fennel until the spices release their aroma and slightly brown. Remove from heat.

Grind all the spices together, either with electric or hand grinder or by hand in a mortar and pestle. Start with grinding the peppercorn, clove and fenugreek; since the pepper can break down slower, and then add the roasted spices. Add the turmeric, chili, cinnamon and nutmeg. (Note: this curry blend will make more than needed for the recipe.)

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil on medium-low heat. Add the butternut squash, 2 cups of stock and 4 Tbs of curry. Warm through, stirring occasionally, then turn off heat. Purée mixture to desired texture with a hand blender. Add remaining stock and butter, and cook on low heat for approximately 10 minutes. Add half and half. Warm the soup, but don’t let it boil. Salt to taste.

Ladle and serve drizzled with yogurt, garnished with cilantro or on it’s own.

Hope you enjoy!

xo,
Julie