Hot and Sour Squash Soup


1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1 cup dry white wine
8 cups vegetable stock
6 lemongrass stalks (bottom 5 inches only), coarsely chopped
3 to 5 thai bird or serrano chiles, coarsely chopped
zest of 1 lime
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions

Cook the onion, garlic, and ginger in 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large, heavy pot (about 5 quart capacity) over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and wine and boil, uncovered, until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and simmer, covered, until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the lemongrass and chilies and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Puree the squash mixture in batches and then return to the pot. Stir in the browned lemongrass and chilies, lime zest, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Pour the soup through a sieve, discarding the solids, and season well with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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