Although chef Tyler Fox takes a waste-nothing, nose-to-tail approach to his carnivorous cooking, he also enjoys creating recipes for vegans, such as the roasted butternut squash soup he contributed to our Thanksgiving table.
Fox cooks the vegetable broth inside a pumpkin to capture the gourd’s perfume. Before adding the fresh lemongrass, Fox “bruises” the woody stalk with the butt of his knife to release the essential oils.
“Lemongrass and ginger obviously go really well together since there are entire continents that use them together,” he says of the combination.
The garnishes also have a certain chef flair to them. Take the curry-roasted pepitas (he doesn’t use the seeds from the pumpkin because they have not been hulled) and the fragrant burst from the paper-thin fried sage. “Sage is not as Asian as the ginger, but sageis
Thanksgiving, and it’s a nice way to finish a rich dish.”Butternut Squash Soup With Curry-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Fried Sage Makes 12 servings
Special equipment: immersion blender, Microplane nutmeg grater
Soup:2 small- to medium-sized pie pumpkins 6 to 8 cups homemade or store-bought vegetable stock, divided 2 butternut squash (approximately 2 pounds each), halved, seeds removed
Roasted pumpkin seeds:1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds or pepitas 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder 1/2 teaspoon sea salt Pinch of chili flakes or cayenne pepper, optional
Fried sage leaves:1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for frying 24 sage leaves 1 whole nutmeg, for grating Salt Start soup several days before Thanksgiving:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put oven rack to lower third of oven.
Cut a hole in the top of each pumpkin to create a lid. Remove strings and seeds. Put both pumpkins on a baking sheet and fill each with 3 to 4 cups of stock. Replace pumpkin lids and roast for about 90 minutes, or until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drizzle four halves of butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt, then place cut-side down on a baking sheet and cook for 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, remove the skin with a paring knife and scoop or roughly chop the flesh. Allow the pumpkins to cool enough to handle, then very carefully transfer pumpkin-infused stock to a container. (The bottom may become soft enough to give way, so check the stability of your pumpkin before attempting to move the hot liquid. If desired, reserve pumpkins to use as serving vessels.)
In a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and onion, cooking onion until it is translucent. Add lemongrass, turmeric and ginger; cook 1 minute. Add roasted squash, reserved stock and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and discard lemongrass stalk. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until silky smooth or allow to cool slightly then transfer to a blender with a vented lid and process in batches. Stir in coconut milk.For the pumpkin seeds:
In a mixing bowl, toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil, curry powder and sea salt. If your family likes spice, you also may add a pinch of chili flakes or cayenne pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 10 to 15 minutes in 350-degree oven, checking frequently to make sure seeds do not burn.Fry sage on Thanksgiving Day:
Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add sage leaves a few at a time and fry until crispy, 15 to 20 seconds. Remove sage from saucepan, reserving the sage-infused oil, place leaves on a paper towel, then sprinkle with salt.To serve:
Place pumpkins on a platter and fill with soup. Serve at the table by ladling soup into bowls. Garnish each bowl with 2 sage leaves, a scattering of pumpkin seeds, a dusting of nutmeg and a drizzle of sage-infused oil.Per serving: 297 calories (64 percent from fat), 24 grams total fat (8 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 22 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 422 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.