Winter Squash and Coconut Cream Soup

Winter squash has a particular affinity with coconut cream, and so is superb in coconut-based curries and soups like this one. Works well with any large winter squash or edible pumpkin, such as Lumina, Sweet Meat, Kabocha, or Buttercup. Golden sweet potato is equally as good. If you cannot obtain fresh kaffir limes to garnish the soup, use lime zest in its place, to finish the soup with bright, citrus taste highlights.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups (about 1 and 3/4 pounds) peeled and cubed winter squash or pumpkin (can keep skins on for Sunshine Kabocha and blend into soup for even brighter orange color)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass
  • 2 scallions, white parts only, finely sliced
  • 2 cups coconut cream
  • 1-1/3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 fresh kaffir lime leaves, or very finely shredded zest of 1 small fresh lime

Instructions:

In a saucepan, combine the winter squash or pumpkin, stock or water, ginger, and lemongrass. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 12 minutes. Add the scallions and cook briefly. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender or food processor and process until the soup is partially pureed. Pour in half of the coconut cream and process until smooth.

Rinse the saucepan and pour the puree into it. Add just half of the remaining coconut cream. Season with salt and pepper and heat through without allowing the soup to boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, and squeeze in lime or lemon juice.

If using the kaffir lime leaves, fold them in half and, using a sharp knife, trim away the hard central rib. Cut the leaves into threadlike shreds. Ladle the soup into bowls and add the remaining coconut cream, forming a swirl on top of each bowl. Garnish with the lime leaf or zest.

,