Monday, November 5, 2012

Roasted Curried Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Chowder

A confession:  up until my trip to the East Coast in late October of last year (2011), I hadn't ever had Butternut Squash soup.  The looks and comments I got from this confession were pretty much the same looks and comments I got when I told people that, at the age of 26, I still had not seen "Top Gun".  I don't think of myself as particularly sheltered because a) why watch "Top Gun" when I could be watching all kinds of knock-'em-down-drag-'em-bloody-out kung-fu Chinese movies (which were obviously NOT G- or PG-rated) and b) butternut squash and pumpkins aren't exactly making the Chinese food rounds.  But back to my trip to the East Coast...

While dining at my hotel's restaurant, I got to try their Curried Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Bisque which was seriously THE MOST DIVINE thing I've ever tasted (shoot... even Chubster, who's not into curry, downed almost the entire bowl)!.  I've been thinking and thinking about that soup ever since and finally, I've decided to try my hand at it.  While it's not the same, it still came out pretty good, giving you those warm "fuzzies" you get from eating a comfort food.  And just in time for the cold season too!

What you'll need:
- 1 medium butternut squash, trimmed

-  1 small sugar pie pumpkin, trimmed

-  2 tbsp ground ginger
-  1 tbsp onion powder
-  3 tbsp of hot curry powder
-  1 tbsp garlic powder
-  1 tbsp ground white pepper

-  2 large leeks, sliced

-  Sea salt & pepper (for taste)
-  1 32oz box of low-sodium chicken stock
-  1/2 box of coconut cream
-  1 can of coconut milk
-  Cooked clams (optional)

-  Roasted sunflower kernels (optional)

1.  Toss butternut squash and pumpkin with some melted coconut oil and seasonings and arrange evenly on baking tray.

2.  Roast at 400F for 45min - 1hr or until softened.

Roasting the squash with the spices is supposed to help "toast" the spices more, thereby allowing for more fragrance and flavor

Because I had to roast the pumpkin separately (my baking trays aren't big enough), I didn't add any spices to it

3.  Add about 2 tbsp of coconut oil to stockpot over medium-high heat.  Once oil is heated through and through, add leeks and saute until thoroughly softened.

4.  Using blender or food processor, puree roasted butternut squash, pumpkin, and leeks together.

5.  Add puree back into stockpot.

6.  Add chicken stock, coconut cream, and coconut milk to puree and stir over medium-high heat.

7.  Adjust taste of chowder with seasonings.  If you want it spicier, add more curry powder.

8.  Once soup is heated through and through, spoon some chopped clams to bottom of bowl.

9.  Ladle chowder over clams and sprinkle some sunflower kernels.  Serve and enjoy!

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