Wednesday, November 23, 2005

For Bill!

I was asked by a visitor from Eschaton to share a couple of the recipes from my Thanksgiving menu. So, I thought I would post them here, then anyone who might be interested can print them out and try them. Both of these recipes come from the November 2004 issue of Cooking Light magazine; I have adapted them somewhat.

Kabocha Squash Soup

2 1/2-lb kabocha squash
1 tblsp butter
1 cup chopped leek
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 tsp peeled and grated ginger
1/8 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch piece lemongrass, crushed
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp grated lime rind
green onions, sliced diagonally
chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half, clean out the seeds. Place the squash, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake 45 minutes or until tender; cool. Scoop out pulp and put aside.

Melt butter in a larege Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in leek, onion, ginger, pepper and lemongrass. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 5 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in squash pulp, broth, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

Place some of soup into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour into a large soup pot. Process rest of soup in batches, and add to pot. Return to heat and add coconut milk and lime rind. Cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Serve sprinkled with green onion and cilantro.
Notes: First, since even a fairly small kabocha is about 3-4 pounds, I pretty much double everything, except the sugar. I usually use most of a stalk of lemon grass, an entire leek, and a good 1-inch piece of ginger, most of the lime rind, and a whole can of coconut milk. I adjust the water and broth volume to taste. After making this soup the first time, I figured out a really good way to make this soup - do everything up the the pureeing the night before, then put it in the fridge. Continue with the cold soup before serving. Then you won't burn yourself when you process the soup, and it takes only minutes to serve. This soup is really delicious; substitute a margarine with no trans fats and you have a completely vegan soup which will knock out all your gourmand friends (what? no chicken broth?) Speaking of broth - use either the Swanson's canned vegetable broth, or you can get "Better Than Bullion" vegetable bullion (a paste that comes in a jar). Or make your own. I don't like a lot of the other vegetable broths that are sold, say, the organic ones that come in the cartons - to my taste they are really too strong and have an "off" taste.


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