Thanksgiving is less than ten days away! If you are still planning or tweaking your menu, I will have a couple festive recipes in the next week that you could add to your traditional rotation or bring to a holiday potluck.
Is Thanksgiving at your house traditional or not? When I was in school, our studio would get together, despite the looming pencils down deadline, and have a great assemblage of everyone’s family traditions. We would have JP’s mom’s delicious stuffing, full of dried fruit and nuts, Toine’s apple crumble, and Jason would brine and roast Alton Brown’s turkey. Last year was our last studio Thanksgiving, and while I do not miss being constantly stressed (between finishing my plots and watching the pumpkin pie bake), I do miss having everyone over at our house, eating the products of our hard work and drinking Shiner Bock.
This year, Thanksgiving is a lot less stressful and I am looking forward to experimenting with twists on traditional dishes. This pumpkin soup is creamy and rich, like the traditional soup, but has a kick of the Southeast Asian flavors of coconut, lemongrass, and galangal (a rhizome similar to ginger). Pumpkin (in this case a kobocha pumpkin) and corn are somewhat recent and quite popular imports in Asia and both of these vegetables work really well together in soup. I found everything in this recipe easily at my local Asian grocery, but if you have trouble finding galangal, feel free to use regular ginger instead. So, if can mix up Thanksgiving at your house this year, this soup is a great way to start, haha.
Pumpkin, Corn, and Lemongrass Soup
inspired by Gourmet
1 large stalk of lemongrass, trimmed and the outer layer(s) removed. I used 2 smaller stalks.
1 1″ piece of galangal or ginger
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 small kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 4 cups). You can use another other winter squash or pumpkin.
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups corn kernels, frozen is fine.
1 cup coconut milk (or more, if you want a more velvety soup. decrease the water proportionally)
about 4 cups water
lime juice, thai basil, or cilantro
Bruise the lemongrass and galangal with the back of your knife to release some of the oils. In your soup pot, heat the butter or oil over medium heat and start to sweat the onion, lemongrass, and galangal. Once the onions are translucent, add the squash and corn and season generously. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the coconut milk and water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is fork tender. Remove the lemongrass and galangal and puree the soup, either using a stick blender or a regular blender, in small batches. If you wish, you can put the soup through a strainer to achieve a smoother texture. Return the pureed soup back to the pot and add more coconut milk or water if you wish to thin it out more and taste. I wound up using a pretty generous amount of salt. The soup is on the sweeter side so a good hit of acid in the form of lime juice is welcome. Ladle into bowls and garnish with more lime juice or a chiffonade of Thai basil or cilantro. A fancy touch might be making a basil or cilantro oil and drizzling a couple drops on top of each serving. A spoon of Greek yogurt would be nice here too.