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Chicken Butternut Curry Soup

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This recipe grew out of a very specific set of circumstances one recent evening when my mom was in town for a visit.  Namely, it was a Thursday night, I’d had a long day at work (they all seem to be that way lately), and had completely spaced out pulling something from the freezer to thaw the night before.  Combined with the fact that there weren’t enough leftovers of anything in the fridge to feed the whole family, and it was already past 6pm, I needed to come up with something quick¹ that didn’t require something already thawed (have we mentioned that our microwave has been out of commission for over 2 months now?).

A quick hunting and gathering trip through the refrigerator and freezer yielded a butternut squash, some carrots, a piece of ginger root, an onion, two chicken breasts (frozen solid), and two slices of leftover bacon from breakfast.  Hiding in the pantry was a can of coconut milk and a quart of vegetable broth.  The garlic is ever-present in the kitchen windowsill, and of course we have a sizable spice cabinet.  Time to get busy.

Gather Up:

  • 2 chicken breasts, about 1-1/2 lbs, cooked and shredded (not pictured here because I’ve got them boiling in a saucepan of water to thaw and cook)
  • 1 butternut squash, about 2 lbs, peeled and cubed (seeds removed too)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1~2 tbsp coconut oil (originally pictured with olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 sliced pre-cooked bacon, chopped

If you’re following along exactly, then start out with your frozen chicken breasts in a large sauce pan completely covered with water.  Turn on high and bring to a boil, then continue boiling until the breasts have fully cooked – about 15~20 minutes.  In the meantime, get everything else chopped up and into prep bowls.

Once the chicken has finished cooking, drain it and place on a cutting board to cool a little.  In the same pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and then add the carrots, onions, and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes until the onions start to soften and turn translucent.  Add in the curry powder, crushed red pepper, and ginger and cook for another minute or two.

Add the cubed squash to the pot along with the vegetable broth.  If necessary, add water to completely cover the squash.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Continue simmering, covered, for about 15~20 minutes until the squash is tender.  While this is cooking, use a fork and sharp knife to shred the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Remove from heat and add in the coconut milk.  Puree the soup using a stick blender if you have one, or by working in batches using a regular blender.  Continue to puree until the soup has a smooth texture with no chunks.  When done, stir in the shredded chicken and let stand for a few minutes for the heat to even out.

Serve by dividing into bowls.  Sprinkle some of the chopped bacon on top, and garnish with a little parsley or finely chopped chives…if you have any.  Dig in!

¹If you have some observation skills and add up my cook times, you’ll see this didn’t exactly turn out “quick,” but rather came out somewhere around 45 minutes from start to finish.  There are some ways you could speed up the process: use a second sauce pan and cook the chicken while you have the rest of the soup cooking (you’ll just have to be careful not to burn your fingers shredding it), use thawed chicken and grilling or frying it while you have the soup cooking, or simply use precooked chicken (such as leftovers from a previous night).

Chicken Butternut Curry Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soups & Stews
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 lbs chicken breasts, pre-cooked and shredded
  • 1 butternut squash, about 2 lbs, peeled and cubed
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
  • ½ can coconut milk
  • 1~2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 sliced pre-cooked bacon, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and then add the carrots, onions, and garlic.
  2. Saute for a few minutes until the onions start to soften and turn translucent.
  3. Add in the curry powder, crushed red pepper, and ginger and cook for another minute or two.
  4. Add the cubed squash to the pot along with the vegetable broth. If necessary, add water to completely cover the squash.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  6. Continue simmering, covered, for about 15~20 minutes until the squash is tender.
  7. Remove from heat and add in the coconut milk.
  8. Puree the soup using a stick blender if you have one, or by working in batches using a regular blender. Continue to puree until the soup has a smooth texture with no chunks.
  9. Stir in the shredded chicken and let stand for a few minutes for the heat to even out.
  10. Serve by dividing into bowls.
  11. Sprinkle some of the chopped bacon on top, and garnish with a little parsley or finely chopped chives.
Notes
You can turn this into a full-blown curry dish by adding in some whole leaves of sweet basil along with chunks of assorted veggies such as bell peppers, eggplant, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, etc. Put the veggies in after you have pureed the cooked squash, and return to a simmer long enough to cook the veggies all the way through (or start out steaming them separately while the soup is cooking).

 

  1. Robyn says:

    This looks SO good! I always forget to defrost my chicken, so this will be a great go-to recipe for me.

  2. cyndi says:

    Thank you Karen, it was so great!!! Scott and I both loved it, perfect for Fall and Winter! Easy to make!

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