This recipe grew out of a very specific set of circumstances one recent evening when my mom was in town for a visit. Namely, it was a Thursday night, I’d had a long day at work (they all seem to be that way lately), and had completely spaced out pulling something from the freezer to thaw the night before. Combined with the fact that there weren’t enough leftovers of anything in the fridge to feed the whole family, and it was already past 6pm, I needed to come up with something quick¹ that didn’t require something already thawed (have we mentioned that our microwave has been out of commission for over 2 months now?).
A quick hunting and gathering trip through the refrigerator and freezer yielded a butternut squash, some carrots, a piece of ginger root, an onion, two chicken breasts (frozen solid), and two slices of leftover bacon from breakfast. Hiding in the pantry was a can of coconut milk and a quart of vegetable broth. The garlic is ever-present in the kitchen windowsill, and of course we have a sizable spice cabinet. Time to get busy.
- 2 chicken breasts, about 1-1/2 lbs, cooked and shredded (not pictured here because I’ve got them boiling in a saucepan of water to thaw and cook)
- 1 butternut squash, about 2 lbs, peeled and cubed (seeds removed too)
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- 1-1/2 inch piece fresh ginger root, minced
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1/2 can coconut milk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 sliced pre-cooked bacon, chopped
If you’re following along exactly, then start out with your frozen chicken breasts in a large sauce pan completely covered with water. Turn on high and bring to a boil, then continue boiling until the breasts have fully cooked – about 15~20 minutes. In the meantime, get everything else chopped up and into prep bowls.
Once the chicken has finished cooking, drain it and place on a cutting board to cool a little. In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and then add the carrots, onions, and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onions start to soften and turn translucent. Add in the curry powder, crushed red pepper, and ginger and cook for another minute or two.
Add the cubed squash to the pot along with the vegetable broth. If necessary, add water to completely cover the squash. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Continue simmering, covered, for about 15~20 minutes until the squash is tender. While this is cooking, use a fork and sharp knife to shred the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
Remove from heat and add in the coconut milk. Puree the soup using a stick blender if you have one, or by working in batches using a regular blender. Continue to puree until the soup has a smooth texture with no chunks. When done, stir in the shredded chicken and let stand for a few minutes for the heat to even out.
Serve by dividing into bowls. Sprinkle some of the chopped bacon on top, and garnish with a little parsley or finely chopped chives…if you have any. Dig in!