“Nirvana in a Bowl”
One Butternut Squash & a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula are the main ingredients for this soup recipe.
One was left languishing on my kitchen counter after a photo shoot, the other was where I secreted off to, to do some personal languishing…a geographical place I love for all that it is. No phones, no television, no blogging…nada. Beaches, hammocks on porches, intriguing & delicious New World food combinations, & quiet, absolute quiet except for the soft swish of palm trees & waves.
All this Nirvana was punctuated by eating, which for me is nirvana. One night my friend, Terry, and I went to a small beach restaurant, “Tabanos”, in Tulum where we encountered some very sublime culinary combinations. Very-not-touristy dishes using traditional ingredients in some very surprising ways.
This is their menu board. I wanted to order everything. We tried!
The first sopa/soup on the menu I ordered. Creamy soup with tomatoes & papaya and the very unexpected addition of vanilla extract. Nirvana in a bowl!
Here is my recipe inspired by the above using my re-discovered Butternut Squash & pure Mexican Vanilla extract.
Silky Squash Soup with Vanilla:
1 Winter Squash, 2 garlic cloves, 1 onion, 3 carrots – peeled & cut into large pieces
2 teaspoons ground cumin, sea salt & black pepper, olive oil
3 tbsps Kerrygold butter (or any other good quality butter), 1 quart chicken stock
1 cup Lite Coconut Milk, I cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons pure Mexican Vanilla Extract
Spread vegetables out on a baking sheet lined with parchment, sprinkle ground cumin, salt & black pepper over all, drizzle with olive oil & toss. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes until vegs are softened.
Melt butter in a stock pot. Add roasted vegetables & chicken stock. Bring to a boil & simmer 3o minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes.
Put soup into a blender (work in batches if necessary) and blend until silky & smooth. Return to pan. Reheat on low & stir in coconut milk & yogurt until well blended.
Right before serving add a generous splash of pure Vanilla extract. Stir and serve soup hot with some crusty bread. Pure, high quality Mexican Vanilla extract is not inexpensive, but a little goes a long way. It adds a hint of creamy, spicy & sweet to make this one bueno soup.
Back in Nashville, very wintry & a bit gloomy. I made this soup. Wouter & I had it for a late lunch. Things were much brighter and cozy…the creaminess without cream, the warm vanilla aroma… Nirvana in a bowl.
Both Butternut Squash & Vanilla are New World foods indigenous to Mexico. If you do not have or cannot find Mexican pure vanilla extract then use whatever you have. There are good quality Mexican vanilla extracts readily available online from King Arthur Flour & Williams Sonoma among many other sites.
This is a perfect soup to start off a Thanksgiving dinner. Leftover soup just gets better.
When in doubt…eat soup.
30 thoughts on “Nirvana in a Bowl / Silky Squash Soup with Vanilla”
Your soup does indeed look like nirvana in a bowl. This is the second recipe I’ve come across recently that uses vanilla bean in savory applications. (the other was a fish dish) Brilliant.
I love seeing that chalkboard menu–que bueno.
Nance, thanks. I keep running into savory recipes with vanilla as well. It is a very Yucatecan use of vanilla. The flavor is so subtle and very enchanting.
This sounds and looks so tasty Mimi, u are the greatest grandma ever
Wow, it is so great to hear from you. I will be happy to make this for you anytime! Your are the best grandson ever!
I would never have thought to use Vanilla in savoury – thank you fo rmaking me think differently.
But back to your holiday – beaches, sunshine, palm trees, light breezes, great food, peace and quiet, hammocks…… aahhhhhh I’m there in my imagination !
It was very blissful…check out my Pinterest board, “Colores del Yucatan or South of the Border” for travel photos. Thanks Claire
Yum! I made Dede’s Tomato Bisque yesterday , a recipe given to me by you a long, long, long time ago! So simple and good, the perfect thing for a wintry day.
Oh my yes…that is one of my very most favorite soups ever..Dede lives!
Who would have thought to put vanilla in a squash soup – like it! Thanks for sharing – Have a Great Day!
I love the idea of playing off both the sweet and savory aspects of butternut squash. This sounds heavenly.
Until I had my soup in Tulum I had not considered putting vanilla extract in my squash soup…who knew? Obviously lots of folks!
Now this is the second time in the last week or so I’ve seen vanilla in a savory dish. I’m intrigued. Your soup looks a lovely use of this strategy.
That is what Nancy at Good Food Matters said! It must be the next new thing and I was not even aware of it?
I have almost all the ingredients for this right now and a new vitamix. I think I have to do it before Thanksgiving. The vanilla has me intrigued, but can I leave out the cumin.
Sure Angela, I think it would be delicious either way. I just like the idea of roasting the squash and other vegetables with the cumin. But if cumin is not your thing then just leave it out.
And it so delicious i ate two bowls
Vanilla in any savoury dish would certainly take me by surprise. I guess…I shall not knock it until I try it myself…especially since butternut squash soup is one of my favourites.
Happy Thanksgiving Teresa.
Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,
P.S. I’m still lingering over your homemade butter ;o) I’ll be making that this weekend for sure.
This looks and sounds so good and it makes me want to head to the Yucatan
The vanilla and the natural sweetness of roasted winter squash were just the perfect combination. This soup was so perfectly perfect to my palate. A really subtle melding of flavors.
I am still amazed at how easy the butter was to whip up in the processor. I made me feel so good and it was like food magic.
Enjoy your holiday Claudia
Liz, this trip to the Yucatan was much more interesting and pleasing in the food department with very intriguing herb & spice combinations.
Very much like the Tomato & Papaya with a hint of Vanilla we had on our trip? si? no?
A beautiful, sunny recipe. Mexican vanilla is the best.
Michele, you know it really is. When I started reading the history of Mexican Vanilla it became even more important to me on many levels.
I gotta try this! Vanilla n cumin together – interesting! But when u claim that it was perfect then I gotta believe it. Btw lovely photography n styling 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Grishma, in some ways it has a very “Indian”-likeness in flavors. Indian food has always been one of my favorite types of cuisine. Thanks and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
This sounds like a delicious soup with its hint of vanilla…very nice.
I recently cooked a sea bass with vanilla butter and it was a revelation. Now I see your beautiful soup and I’m all excited! I can’t wait to try it!
I love this soup and first discovered it when visiting a Mayan town in Mexico last month. I put whole corn kernals in mine, it’s so yummy. Made the mistake of using “lite” coconut milk…not so great. Maybe the vanilla will smooth things out.
When in doupt and want to be in nirvana, eat your kind of soup!!! m