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Old 12-11-2003, 03:17 PM   #1
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By Request: Roasted Kabocha Pumpkin and Ginger Soup

Roasted Kabocha Pumpkin and Ginger Soup with Crispy Leeks and Creme Fraiche

Yield: Approx. 10 portions


1 Medium Sized Kabocha Pumpkin
2 cups of Half and Half
6 cups of Chicken Stock, heated
1 cup Whipping or Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp. Buttermilk
1 Leek stalk washed and cut into 1/4" dice (whitish part only)
3 Leek stalks, washed and cut into 1/8" thick and approx 4-5" long julienne (whitish part only)
1 5" long piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion, cut into 1/4" dice
1 Tbsp. Fresh Garlic, minced
1 stem of Lemongrass chopped (white part only)
1/4 cup finely diced chives
1/4 cup of Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
2 qt. Canola or similar oil
Kosher Salt and White Pepper to taste


Using a spoon, lightly scrape off the skin from the ginger and slice lengthwise into thin slices. Place the ginger and the half and half into a bowl, cover and refrigerate, and let it soak for 24 hours, then strain. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Chop the pumpkin into roughly 3-4" pieces and place on a baking tray. Coat with olive oil, sprinkle on the brown sugar and a little kosher salt, and roast for approx. 30 minutes or until golden brown. In a heavy soup or stock pot, heat the butter and saute the onions, lemongrass, garlic, and diced leeks until translucent, approx. 4-5 minutes, but do not brown. Add the heated chicken stock, roasted pumpkin, and slowly stir in the half and half. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes. Using a hand blender (the one that looks like a boat motor, not the one you would use for baking) or a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth. If using a regular blender, remove the clear circular cap on the cover, and use a thick kitchen towel in it's place so that some of the hot air can escape (unless you want the soup exploding in your face). Strain the soup using a fine sieve (you can use a collander and cheesecloth). Season to taste with kosher salt and white pepper, and garnish with the Creme Fraiche, Crispy leeks, and chives, and serve immediately while hot, or reheat later before being served (but don't add the garnished until you serve it).

For the Crispy Leeks:

In a heavy 3-4 qt. saucepan, heat the Canola oil to 350-360 degrees F. Lightly season the flour with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the julienned leeks in the flour, shaking off all the excess flour. Fry the leeks in the oil until golden brown. Do not overload the oil or the leeks will not get as crisp. Unless you have a bigger deep fat fryer, cook the leeks in three batches (one batch per leek). Drain the leeks well and reserve for garnish. Lightly season with salt to taste while the leeks are still hot and fresh from the oil. You may do this up to one hour ahead to serving the soup.

For the Creme Fraiche:

In a cooled STERILIZED glass jar, combine the Whipping or Heavy Cream and the Buttermilk together. Stir well to make sure that the two dairies are incorporated, cover tightly, and let stand at room temperature (but no more than 70 degrees F) for 24 hours. Refrigerate immediately. You can then use this for up to 7 days.

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