I can only guess that there is some kind of obscure nutrient in coconut milk that I’m lacking, because I can’t seem to get enough of the stuff recently. Either that, or the six cans in my pantry are the result of a blow-out sale at the local co-op. Like a coupon-clipping granny, I can’t resist a good sale.
A few weeks ago, Dan and I returned home from the Northeast Kingdom with a lot of winter squash. The squash basked adorably in a wooden bowl on a sideboard in our dining room for a while, but eventually I thought it best to actually cook the things instead of using them as a seasonal decoration for the rest of the winter. (I’ve always been a little weirded out by food-as-decoration anyway. What a waste!)
We had pumpkin, kabocha, and butternut squash. I’d never cooked pumpkin for anything other than pie, so I turned to the internet for assistance — as I do with far too many concerns. The recipe I ended up making was a spin on the Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup from 101 Cookbooks. Heidi’s book, Super Natural Cooking is a kitchen-counter staple in our house, so I knew I would not be disappointed. Conveniently, 101 Cookbooks even has a recipe for toasted pumpkin seeds, which you can make to toss atop your soup, or just munch by the handful.
This soup is insanely easy to make, and comes together quickly once the squash is roasted. You could even roast the squash a day ahead of time, and keep it refrigerated until you need it.
Thai Pumpkin Soup
2 pumpkins or other smallish winter squash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs. grated ginger
tiniest splash of fish sauce (nam pla); omit this if you don’t eat fish
1 tsp. (or more, depending on the strength of your paste) red Thai curry paste
water or vegetable stock, warmed
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt (or to taste)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and string, reserving the seeds for toasting, if you like. Rub the cut sides of the pumpkin with butter, sprinkle with salt, and place on a baking sheet, skin side down. Bake for about an hour in the oven, until the squash is tender. Remove from the oven and set aside until it’s cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, simmer the onion, ginger, and coconut milk in a large pot over medium heat. Add the fish sauce and continue cooking until the onions have softened.
Scoop the pumpkin into the pot, incorporating it into the coconut milk mixture. Stir in the curry paste until it dissolves and bring to a simmer for a few minutes more. Remove the soup from heat, and carefully puree with an immersion blender. The soup will be very thick. Add the warmed stock or water in cup increments until the soup reaches a consistency you like, then bring it back up to a simmer. Taste for salt, adjust seasonings, and serve topped with chives and roasted pumpkin seeds.