Total time: 2 hours
Servings: 10 to 12
Note: From executive chef Terry Sheehan at the Ahwahnee hotel.
1 large (4-pound) or 2 medium (2-pound) butternut squash
2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups apple juice
2 tart green apples, cored, diced (about 3 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemon grass
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons uncooked basmati rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and brush the insides with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on an ungreased baking sheet and roast in a 400-degree oven until tender, about 55 minutes. When the squash is done, cool and scoop the pulp out of the skin. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat the apple juice in a medium saucepan. Add the diced apples and poach until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Strain the apples from the juices, setting aside the apples to use later. Continue to boil the juice rapidly until it is reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes; set aside.
3. In a heavy, 5-quart saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and onion and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the ginger, lemon grass, bay leaf, thyme, curry powder and rice. Cook, stirring constantly, over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is fragrant and the spices coat the vegetables.
5. Add the chicken stock, heavy cream, reduced apple juice and squash pulp. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover, and cook until the flavors are blended, about 30 minutes.
6. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Working in batches and using a blender, carefully purée the mixture or use a stick blender and purée the soup in the stock pot.
7. Spoon the soup into bowls and garnish each with a swirl of yogurt, a sprinkling of cilantro and a spoonful of diced apples.