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Kabocha Squash Soup with Toasted Cumin and Chiles

Serves: Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4-pound) kabocha squash, cut into large chunks and seeds and membranes removed
  • 1 tablespoon flavorless vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans light or regular coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 red or green jalepeño chile, halved lengthwise, seeded, and slivered crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro


Procedures:

The Japanese kabocha squash is squat and round, and has nubby, dark green skin and dense, sweet flesh. Use a large, heavy chef’s knife to cut the squash into big chunks. Because the skin is too thick and brittle to peel, the squash is cooked and then the flesh is scooped from the skin. Pureed with coconut milk, it makes a rich, golden soup. Balance the richness with a generous addition of fresh lime juice, slivered chiles, and a shower of finely chopped cilantro.

Place the squash in a steamer insert set over a large pot of gently boiling water. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Lift the steamer from over the water, using an oven mitt, and let the squash cool. Discard the water in the pot and wipe the pot dry.

Add the oil to the pot, place over medium heat, and heat the oil until hot enough to sizzle a piece of onion. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Use a tablespoon to scoop the cooled squash from the brittle skins and add it to the pot with the onion. Stir in the coconut milk.

Use immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Alternatively, puree soup in batches in a blender. Add the salt and pepper.

Reheat the soup over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent sticking, until steaming. Do not allow to boil. Stir in the lime juice, half of the chile, and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Ladle into warmed bowls. Garnish with the remaining chile and the remaining tablespoon of cilantro.

by Sur La Table & Andrews McMeel Publishing, Things Cooks Love

 
 
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