This Slow-Cooker Thai Butternut Squash Soup is wonderfully flavourful, with red curry, coconut milk and lemongrass. Topped with shrimp, this is a delicious and easy dinner soup.
Slow cooker. Two words you haven't seen a lot on Seasons and Suppers. Truth be told, I don't use my slow cooker a lot. Probably for the same reason I don't use the cruise control on my car. I'm just more comfortable being an active participant when it comes to things like driving. Or cooking too, apparently :) The notion of set it and forget it doesn't come easily to me. I have to say though, this Slow Cooker Thai Butternut Squash soup totally changed my mind!
Yes, I have to confess, I was impressed by how easy this soup came together and appreciated the benefit of the long simmer on the finished flavour. I didn't miss the lid-lifting, testing and stirring routine. After about 4 hours of complete and utter neglect, I was rewarded with perfectly cooked squash, that blended in to silky smooth soup, with such lovely notes of the lemongrass, curry and of course, the coconut flavours. Topped with quick and easy pre-cooked shrimp, it was a delicious and easy dinner.
If you don't have a slow cooker, I suspect that you can just simmer, covered, over low heat on the stove-top until the squash is softened.
While this soup is fabulous on it's own, I think it would also be nice spooned over hot rice, if you're looking for something a little more hearty.
Cook's Notes for Slow-Cooker Thai Butternut Squash Soup
Don't skip the lemongrass! There was a time when lemongrass stalks were near impossible for me to find locally. In the past few years, they have shown up in both the produce section and trimmed up in the fresh herb packages. Seek them out and you will probably find them, too. If not, don't hesitate to try the lemongrass paste in the tubes from the produce section. I used that option for years and it's a lot better than foregoing it altogether, for sure.
Be sure to remove the lemongrass and ginger pieces before pureeing your soup. They don't mash or blend! Even after hours of cooking. You don't want shards of it spoiling your lovely soup.
I love the ease of using pre-cooked shrimp for this dish. If you only have or prefer raw shrimp, they will work fine, as well. Just note the extra cooking time needed at the end, as detailed in the recipe.
Speaking of ease, if you can find pre-cut butternut squash cubes in the produce section, you'll save the peeling and cutting of the whole squash.
Slow-Cooker Thai Butternut Squash Soup with Shrimp
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 4 cups butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 1 13-oz can full-fat coconut milk stirred
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp red curry paste
- 4 thin slices ginger root peeled
- 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1/4 tsp brown or coconut sugar
- 1 lb pre-cooked thawed shrimp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh mint or basil for garnish
- If you are starting with a whole stalk of lemongrass, remove the top woody part. Cut the softer, bottom piece in to two 2-3 inch pieces. Smash the side of the stalk with a knife blade to bruise. Set aside.
- In a slow cooker, combine the cubed squash, coconut milk, chicken stock, curry paste, ginger, fish sauce and brown sugar. Cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 - 4 hours, or until squash is tender. Discard the ginger and the two lemongrass pieces.
- Using a whisk (or potato masher, or immersion blender), mash and stir squash to make a smooth soup. Stir in shrimp and cook a few minutes, until they are warmed. (If using raw shrimp, cover soup and cook on high for about 15 minutes, to cook shrimp).
- Taste soup and add salt and pepper, to taste. (Salt especially is needed to really bring out the flavours!)
- Spoon in to serving bowls and garnish with fresh mint or basil.