Lemon grass, pistachios and chili pepper bring a kick to pumpkin soup, which also can be made using butternut squash.
3 tbsp. sugar
1 small, fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/4 cups whole, shelled American pistachios
1 1/2 lb. seeded fresh pumpkin or butternut squash
1 tbsp. butter
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks lemon grass, cut into 4-in. lengths
3 cups vegetable stock
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
6 tbsp. light sour cream or crème fraiche
- Melt sugar over low heat until light brown caramel color. Add chili and pistachios; stir to coat. Turn mixture out of pan onto foil or waxed paper and let cool.
- Pare pumpkin or squash and cut into cubes. Over med. heat, melt butter; add shallots and lemon grass. Cover and cook 1 min. Add cubed pumpkin, stock, pepper and cloves. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 to 20 min. or until tender.
- Discard lemongrass. Puree pumpkin mixture until smooth. Return puree to saucepan; whisk in sour cream. Heat gently.
- For service, pour into soup bowls; top with cilantro and caramelized pistachios.