I'm crazy about all the season of the year but I believe fall is my favorite! I love the breathtaking foliage displays, the cool crisp days, the long cozy evenings inside AND I wait all year for the fabulous culinary flavors and ingredients the season brings; aromas of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger, crisp sweet/tart apples, luscious succulent pears leaving sweet juice running down your chin .... pumpkins in every size, color and texture, round, oblong and crook necked squashes, crunchy pecans, tart ruby cranberries - oh, I could go on and on......... While I thoroughly enjoy the traditional cakes, cobblers, salads, soups etc. that these ingredients yield themselves so well to, every now and then, I like to discover and invent fun new twists on these quintessential autumn flavors.
This Curried Coconut Pumpkin Soup with Chicken and Jasmine Rice is a delicious, low fat healthy soup that shouts with vibrant fresh flavor. It comes together quickly (utilizing canned pumpkin), can be prepared ahead and simply re-warmed before serving. I like to keep the chicken, rice, fresh herbs and avocado separate; then combine them in the bowl for a lovely presentation. If you're tired of the same ho hum recipes, put a little fall-ish pizazz in your menu planing and give this wonderful soup a try!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup roughly chopped shallots
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
- 2 stalks lemongrass tender inner stalks only, coarsely chopped
- ½ teaspoon garlic chili sauce or 1 teaspoon Sriracha available in the Asian section of most larger grocery stores
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree not pie filling as this has sugar and spices
- 3 cans light coconut milk I like the Trader Joe's brand
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce available in the Asian section of most larger grocery stores
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 6 ounces baby arugula or spinach long stems removed
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 2-3 cups shredded chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken or leftover roasted chicken, grilled chicken or roasted chicken breasts*
- 1-2 cups cooked jasmine rice
- For the garnish:
- 1 medium avocado halved, cored, peeled and thinly sliced (keep from browning by sprinkling with a bit of lemon or lime juice)
- 2 green onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add fresh ginger, lemongrass, garlic chili sauce, coriander, cumin, and curry powder and cook another 30 seconds or until aromatic.
Add chicken broth and canned pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Let cool slightly and blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender until smooth. If using a regular blender, return to pot and turn heat back to medium. Add coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar and return to a low simmer. Add spinach (or arugula) and fresh basil and removed from heat.
To serve, place approximately ¼-1/3 cup chicken in each of 6 shallow serving bowls. Ladle soup into bowls and place approximately ¼ cup rice in the center. Arrange avocado decoratively on one side of the rice and sprinkle each serving with cilantro and sliced green onions. Serve - and expect rave reviews!