Thai Curry Kabocha Squash Bisque

INGREDIENTS:

2 kabocha squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 stalks lemongrass (no root or tops), chopped
1/2 sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
2 bunches fresh Thai basil
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
1 cup water
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 quarts chicken stock
2 ounces palm (or light brown) sugar
Salt, to taste

METHOD:

Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. Rub squash inside and out with oil and season with salt. Place on a roasting pan open side down. Cook at 350°F for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Heat a stockpot and add olive oil, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and onion and sweat for 2 minutes. Stir in basil, cilantro, curry paste and water and whisk until curry paste has dissolved. Add coconut milk, cream, chicken stock and sugar, and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a medium simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the squash has cooled, remove the skin and place the roasted squash into the stockpot. Stir to combine and continue to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. Season with a little salt. If you want the soup more spicy or sweet, add curry paste or palm sugar to taste.

Carefully ladle mixture into a blender (in small  batches) and blend on high until smooth. Then strain through a fine chinois or other fine strainer into another pot. Continue process until all soup mixture is pureed. Soup should be smooth and semi-thick — add more liquid to get desired consistency or bring to a boil to reduce, slightly, if too thin.

YIELD: 10 servings

SOURCE: From Chef Dean Shinagawa, Tulalip Bay

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