butternut squash soup with curried parsnip

We had the best soup in the world at work the other night. Unfortunately, it wasn't this one, but it did inspire this one. It was a similar to a typical lentil vegetable soup, but with a cream base instead of a broth one. And, atop of this already plenty delicious soup were delightfully crunchy cubes of roasted potato.

At home the next afternoon with a squash and daydreams of tiny crunchy squares of tuber, I devised this soup. It's oh-so-delicious, and quite simple and quick. The star anise adds an imperceptible depth and richness to the yummy yummy soup. And the curried parsnips are the perfect garnish, adding a kick of savory heat. Homemade chicken broth if possible, people!

butternut squash soup with curried parsnips

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 in cubes
3 star anise
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 shallots, chopped
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 large parsnip, peeled and diced small
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
2 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add garlic, shallot and star anise. Sautee until translucent and add squash and chicken broth to cover. How much you use will depend on how big your squash was. Simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss parsnip with curry powder, 1 tbsp olive oil, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Roast until softened but still a tad crunchy, about 10 minutes.

Remove star anise and puree everything else. Thin with broth if desired. Serve with parsnips in the middle and, optionally, croutons.