This week on Good Food, cookbook author Fanae Aaron joins Evan to discuss What Chefs Feed Their Kids. Contributing chef B.T. Nguyen’s recipe for Pumpkin Soup with Coconut, Peanuts, and Scallions is below.
Pumpkins are not just for jack-o’-lanterns and pies. Good choices for cooking are sugar pumpkins and heirloom varieties such as the gray- skinned Jarrahdale, the white-skinned Cucurbita, or a delicious cheese pumpkin that has a pale orange skin. When selecting a pumpkin, remember that a fresh pumpkin or squash will be a lot easier to peel and more flavorful than one that’s been on the shelves for a while.
This is a warm, comforting soup and the peanut and scallion garnish livens it up for older children and adults and adds a welcome and surprising crunch. Use less broth or water to make a thicker puree that is more like baby food.
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 cups pumpkin (1/2 small pumpkin—approximately 2 pounds) or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1⁄3 cup sliced galangal (see note below)
8 ounces coconut milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce, Maggi or other quality brand
1 1/2 teaspoons raw or other sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped or crushed
3 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped fine
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat bring broth to a boil.
2. Add pumpkin and galangal (in cheesecloth to remove quickly and easily; see note below) and simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft (fresher pumpkins will cook faster).
3. Turn heat down and add coconut milk, soy sauce, raw sugar, and salt and stir until combined and sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat off and let cool; remove the galangal.
4. Puree for babies and freeze leftovers. For adults and older babies, serve with finely chopped roasted peanuts and scallions sprinkled on top.
Notes: Galangal is a mild type of ginger. It has a floral aroma and is a bit tougher to cut than ginger. Try going to an Asian market to find it. Some people recommend substituting ginger, but ginger at the same quantities is too pungent. You can make the soup using ginger sparingly or make the soup without it. Using butternut squash will make the soup sweeter than using pumpkin.
Wrapping spices and herbs in cheesecloth is a great way to give flavor to soups and a pot of beans and is easy to remove when the cooking is finished. Another great trick is to put them in a refillable tea bag. Try it here with the galangal, which is a bit too fibrous to puree with the soup and is better removed after cooking.