Winter is Coming (but so is Thanksgiving): Acorn Squash Soup with Lemongrass

DSCN1564If you were a Stark of Winterfell, you would know that your words would never hold more true than on a day like this, WINTER IS COMING.

Even if you don’t live in the realm (or know what I am even talking about for that matter), it’s no joke that it has become quite frigid here in the Midwest, signaling the start of a season that might put a damper on your mood, making you feel tired all day and have you partaking in some rather odd behaviors, such as eating a slab of melted cheese for dinner (I may or may not be guilty of doing that right now, don’t judge me).

However, Thanksgiving is on its way as well, and I live for that holiday. It is my everything, the one night where food becomes more important than anything else, where feuding friends and family put aside differences for a day of forgiveness, an evening when we can all be truly thankful and blessed to be alive and healthy. Just in time for this glorious occasion, I share with you all a recipe that would be very happy to have a spot on your Thanksgiving menu this year.

Are you one of those people, who come October begin eating practically anythingDSCN1569 orange and wholesome in large quantities? Sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and squashes of every kind have begun showing up on my grocery list practically every week. With just sweet potatoes alone, I made stews, enchiladas, and even risotto, and a can of pumpkin puree lent itself toward the creation of an ultra moist, dark chocolate loaf cake, and an Afghan classic, kadu bouranee. Two days ago, I cut open an acorn squash and massaged it with a dab of Thai green curry paste before roasting in the oven until it was soft and scooping away from the skin like a creamy batch of gelato. Mixed into a highly aromatic broth flavored with fresh lemongrass, a dab of smoky cumin, and a splash of quintessential coconut milk, this Asian-inspired soup is sweet and savory, spicy and smoky, and will warm you down to the tips of your toes. Even if you don’t get a chance to include it this Thanksgiving, I suggest giving this soup a try anytime before Santa comes down your chimney this year.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving and joyous holiday season!

DSCN1575Recipe: Acorn Squash Soup with Lemongrass

Ingredients

  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 1 teaspoon Thai green curry paste
  • 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small stalk lemongrass, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

MethodDSCN1568

Cut the acorn squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place the halves on a lined baking sheet and rub each half with a 1/2 teaspoon of the green curry paste. Drizzle with olive oil and cracked black pepper before roasting at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes, until the squash is browned and very soft.

While the squash is roasting, get started on the soup base. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Once warm, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and lemongrass and cook for a minute longer. Then add the ground cumin and crushed red pepper and cook for another minute, allowing the spices to toast and become fragrant. Add about a 1/2 to 1 cup of the chicken stock at this point and deglaze the pot. After five minutes, add the sweet potatoes and the rest of the stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.

Once the squash has finished roasting, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving the skin behind. Add the flesh to the soup base followed by the coconut milk plus additional water if the consistency is too thick. Simmer this mixture now for another 15 minutes. Then using a standard or immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Return to the heat and adjust for seasoning, adding salt as need. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving warm with plenty of crusty bread for dipping.

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3 thoughts on “Winter is Coming (but so is Thanksgiving): Acorn Squash Soup with Lemongrass

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