By Pamela Hatton

My Mom microwaves pie pumpkins in pieces to speed up cooking time.  Failing her instructions, I accidentally discovered all squash cook like a charm whole – as long as you poke holes deep into the flesh allowing steam to escape.  A lesson quickly learned…

Serves 8 first course

Ingredients:

1 acorn squash
1medium onion, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 stalk lemongrass, smashed then finely chopped
½-1 tsp green curry paste
3-4 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock (1 tetra pack) or homemade
½ -3/4Cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cilantro – chopped
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
Optional lime zest

Method:

Cook the squash by deeply poking the skin and flesh in several places allowing for steam to escape.  Place in a shallow bowl (like soup bowl) and microwave for 10 minutes.  Flip over and microwave another 5 minutes.  Let cool, split open, scrape out the seeds (and toast for extra garnish), scrape out the flesh and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and sauté onion, garlic and lemongrass until soft.  Add curry paste and sauté for 1 minute.

Add squash and stock to pan and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender.  For a more elegant and silkier textured soup, pass through a sieve into a bowl.  You might need to add a little more stock to thin out the soup to pass in the sieve.  If preparing soup in advance, stop here and refrigerate.  Flavours meld with a day of sitting.

Reheat soup with whipping cream – pour in enough until you like the creaminess (or you can leave out for a lighter and more squash flavoured soup).  If using a lower fat cream or milk, be careful not to boil the soup and risk curdling.

Garnish with lime zest, cilantro and a squirt of lime wedge.

Recipe developed and submitted by: Pamela Hatton