Pumpkin Rice Soup With Ginger And Lemon Grass…..

This soup is my adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s Pumpkin Rice Laska Soup.  I am not crazy about 5 spice powder so I omitted it.  I added a little more of this and a little less of that and made it my own.  He recommends giving a squeeze of fresh lime juice just before serving, so good!  I didn’t happen to have fresh limes at the time.  I think that if you topped this soup with a couple of pan seared spicy shrimp it would be over the top!

I had leftover spanish rice & whipped butternut squash in my freezer.  I also had the pieces of fresh pumpkin that we cut out of our jack-o-lantern’s.  I simply cut off the hard rind and cut it into cubes and coated it with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted it until nicely brown and tender.  I would highly recommend running the soup through a blender before adding the rice and cilantro as the ginger and lemon grass can be a bit fibrous.

This is what I LOVE about soups.  No rules.  You can do whatever you like.  Save  those little bits of rice, pasta, roasted chicken, meat and veggies.  Throw them in the freezer and use later for soup.  So green, no waste!

Pumpkin Rice Soup with Ginger & Lemon Grass

2  lbs. pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeded
1 jalapeno chili, seeded, halved and minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2-3 sticks of lemon grass, two outer layers removed
1 large bunch cilantro, triple washed and drained, stems removed and reserved
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups cooked rice-any kind
2-14 oz. cans light coconut milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

1)  Chop the squash/pumpkin into 2″ pieces.  If you’d like chunks of roasted squash in your soup, chop off a hunk of squash and cut into 1/2″ pieces. (about 2 cups cubed squash) Toss with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 350′ oven for 20-25 minutes or until nicely brown and tender.  Set aside.  After you clean the cilantro, remove the large stems and coarsely chop.
2)  In a large soup pot add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, large cilantro stems and lemon grass.  Saute for about 10 minutes over medium heat stirring often.  Add the cumin and a pinch or two of salt and pepper.
3)  Add the squash and the stock to the pan, lower the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.  Run the soup through the blender.  Be careful not to fill the blender past 2/3 full, hold a towel over the top before you turn the blender on.  Once blended add the soup back to the pot.
4)  Add the cooked rice and coconut milk.  Taste and season with salt and pepper to your taste.  Stir in cilantro.  Serve immediately.




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