The Crown Prince squash has an unmistakable, thick steely blue skin. With deep orange flesh inside, the little treasure from the plant kingdom has a gorgeous, rich nutty, sweet flavour. Crown Prince is of my favourite types of squash and so I was rather delighted to be given a couple of these beauties the other day by a kind friend.
They are somewhat large in size, and, I must admit that I had a King Arthur, Excalibur moment the other day when I decided to cut into my squash. It seemed that my knife was stuck when I tried to cut the thing in half (I am, however, easily amused, and rather than getting frustrated my chefs knife became ‘Excalibur’ jammed in to the rock for a moment haha)… something that I am sure anyone who has attempted to tackle a large pumpkin or squash will be familiar with. For this recipe, if you struggle with large squashes, then please do use a smaller one. If you cannot get a Crown Prince, then use a different squash such as the ever-popular ‘butternut’. I do, however, recommend Crown Prince if you happen to be able to get a hold of one. If you have other flavoursome faves, then please do let me know in the comments below what they are – I am always on the lookout for new delicious plant foods.
OK let’s get cracking. I created this video in my kitchen to show you step by step how easy this is to do. Please do check it out first here…
The first step is to crack the thing open. Do this as best as you can. Admittedly, the first step in the most difficult, but cutting becomes easier after that. We are going to roast the squash. Roasting simply serves the purpose of bringing out an extra gorgeous depth of flavour, adding to the nutty sweetness (note: it will still work if you don’t have an oven and miss out this step – or if you can’t be bothered).
You can scoop out the seeds (as in the photo below) and roast – OR simply leave them in whilst roasting (in which case, take them away after roasting (as in my video)). Either way works fine. After scooping you need to cut into chunks. You can cut into large or smaller chunks, but do try to get them even (ish) in size to allow for even cooking. Smaller obviously roasts up a little bit quicker.
Once chopped up, pop the chunks onto an oven tray. Put a lid on top (for me this means another oven tray used as a make-shift lid) and then pop into the oven. Ideally, you want to do this when you are baking something else, to make use of an already hot oven. A high temperature is better, but it really doesn’t matter.
The squash is ready when you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork.
When roasted, take out of the oven and prepare the other ingredients whilst the squash cools down enough to make it easy to handle.
Peel the ginger (top tip: use a teaspoon to scrape and peel the ginger) and then finely grate. Chop the creamed coconut and then also add the sea salt, black pepper, ground coriander and water into a large cooking pot.
Peel the skin off the squash and discard (ideally compost it and return it to the earth). If you’ve still got the seeds in the oven tray at this point then take them out too (some people like to eat the seeds – very nutritious). Scoop the flesh into the pot (we call it a pan in the UK). Pop your pot/pan onto the stove, bring to the boil and then cook for about 10 minutes. Blend with a hand blender and voila – magic!
An important note about the creamed coconut…
I am using creamed coconut in this recipe, which comes in a solid block form. It imparts a rich creamy coconut-ness to the soup. DEFINITELY worth getting hold of! It’s easy to find in UK health food shops and supermarkets, as well as good health food stores in Canada and the USA and some European countries (more difficult to find in Australia etc. sorry guys). Creamed coconut is not to be confused with coconut cream. You can, however, swap out for coconut milk or coconut cream if you must – in which case LEAVE OUT the equivalent amount of water instead. Read all creamed coconut here: https://www.kindearth.net/what-is-creamed-coconut-versus-coconut-butter-and-coconut-cream/
- 1.5kg crown prince squash (approximately)
- 2 to 3cm cubed fresh ginger
- 200g creamed coconut (see below)
- 1 heaped teaspoon sea salt
- Large twist black pepper
- 1 heaped tablespoon ground coriander
- 1.5 litres of water (more or less depending on requirements)
- You will need around 1.5kg of squash. This is going to reduce in weight by up to 50% once roasted and peeled. So with 1.5kg of squash, you might end up with about 750g of the stuff. Bear this in mind if making adaptations.
- Chop squash into chunks and pop onto an oven tray. You can remove seeds or leave in and remove later. Put a lid (another over tray will work well as a lid) and then put it into a hot oven and bake. A high temperature works well (i.e. gas mark 7/ 220C/425F) although if you are baking something else at the time then just use whatever temperature is happening. Smaller chunks will cook faster. Bake until you can pierce a fork through the squash.
- Once baked, take out of the oven. Allow it to cool a little first, so that it is easy for you to handle.
- In the meantime, peel the ginger (tip: use a teaspoon to peel) and then finely grate. Put into a large cooking pan (or pot, whatever you call the thing you cook soup in on the stove, depending on where you live).
- Chop the creamed coconut and put it in the pan.
- Put the salt, pepper, ground coriander and water into the pan.
- Remove the skin from the squash (compost it). If you have baked with the seeds also remove them at this stage. Put the squash in the pan.
- Bring contents to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes to let the coconut melt and the flavours dance.
- Use a good hand blender to blend until creamy (be aware, some hand blenders are rubbish). If you don't have a good hand blender then use a potato masher to thoroughly mash and be patient (although it will probably be more chunky).
- This keeps for days and freezes well.
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