Butternut's creamy texture makes this soup silky smooth. You can also use kabocha squash (a winter squash also known as Japanese pumpkin); it has a deep, rich flavor and is a bit sweeter than butternut. Omit the sugar if using kabocha. For extra flavor contrast, sprinkle with additional black pepper.
Serves 8 (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
1. Heat oil and butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and curry paste; cook 8 minutes or until onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Combine onion mixture, squash, and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or until squash is tender.
2. Place half of squash mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture. Stir in juice and coconut milk. Sprinkle with cilantro.