Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What to Eat Before the Feast

 Like any red-blooded American, I love Thanksgiving.

And like an Olympian, I train for the event.  I want to make sure that I am in prime condition to enjoy the constant grazing and gorging that accompanies the day.  So I tend to eat a little less throughout the week.

In case you haven't noticed, I love soup.  So, naturally, soup and salad are a great way to eat a little lighter yet still feel satisfied, reserving plenty of room for the Simpson-esque shoveling of food on Thursday.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk
I didn't have another pumpkin for the pic.  But that's a pretty apple, no?

This is a great first course for Thanksgiving or a teaser meal leading up to the day.  Turkey Day flavors with a bit of a twist. Roasting your own pumpkin gives you a strange sense of satisfaction, but you can use 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree if you are a wuss.

1 3 lb. pumpkin
2 Tbl olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tbl curry powder
1 Tbl turmeric
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coriander
shaving of nutmeg
4 cups chicken stock
14 oz coconut milk
2 tsp lemon juice
salt n' pepper

Preheat oven to 450.  Using a really sharp knife, slice off top of pumpkin. Slice into quarters, then into eighths. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for about an hour.  Remove and allow to cool.

In a stock pot over medium flame, heat olive oil, curry, turmeric, coriander, and cinnamon for one minute.  This will allow the spices to bloom. Add onion, garlic, celery, and apple to the oil and stir to cover.  Season with salt and red pepper and sautè veggies until tender for about 5 minutes.  Scoop out pumpkin flesh and add to pot.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Allow soup to cool slightly and purèe mixture.  Pass through a sieve and return to pot.  Add coconut milk and lemon juice.  Delish!

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