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Thai Curry Kabocha Squash Bisque

Adapted from Food and Wine Dec. 2010

Serves 10

Ingredients
2 kabocha squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 stalks lemongrass (no root or tops), chopped
½ sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
2 bunches fresh Thai basil
¼ bunch fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp red Thai curry paste
1 cup water
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 ounces palm sugar

Instructions
Heat oven to 350°F.

Halve squash and scoop out seeds. Coat squash in olive oil and season with salt all over. Place cut-side down on a roasting pCut the squash in half and take out seeds. Place squash in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

In a large heated pot, warm olive oil, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and onion for 2 mins.

Add basil, cilantro, curry paste and water to pot. Stir to mix well until curry paste is dissolved. Poor in coconut milk, cream, vegetable stock and sugar. Stir to combine. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

When squash is cool enough to handle, remove tough outer skin and add squash to soup pot. Mix ingredients together well and continue to cook for 15-20 mins. Add salt, sugar or curry paste to taste.

Use a hand blender to blend soup until smooth or place in a blender in batches. Strain soup through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot. Add liquid or reduce by boiling to reach desired consistency.

Serve hot and garnish with fresh thai basil leaves.