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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 baking potato, peeled and chopped
2 Macintosh apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 celery stalk, with leaves, sliced
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white and tender green part only, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
6 cups water
3/4 cup coconut milk (or one 5.5 ounce can)
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar (optional)
Freshly ground pepper
Fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil and butter. Add the squash, potato, apple, carrot, celery, onion, leek, shallot, ginger, cinnamon stick, salt and curry powder and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 15 minutes.
2. Add the water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are very soft, about 45 minutes.
3. Let cool slightly then puree in a blender (working in batches--or use an immersion blender) until smooth. Taste and stir in the honey and/or vinegar if needed, along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves if desired.