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Kabocha Squash Soup with Coconut Milk and Lime Leaves

Vegetable Stock, 5 cups
1 medium kabocha squash, about 3½ pounds, cut in half, seeds removed
1 Tbsp.vegetable oil or olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped, about 2 cups
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 stalks lemongrass, tough tops and outer leaves removed, finely chopped, about 1/3 cup
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
1 or 2 kefir lime leaves
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
10 to 15 Thai basil leaves, bundled and cut in thin ribbons, about 2 Tbsp.

• Preheat the oven to 400º F.
• Make the stock and keep it warm over low heat.
• Place the squash, cut side down, in a baking dish with a little water. Cover and roast until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop it out of the skin. You should have about 4 cups.
• Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the onions, ½ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, lemongrass, and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Add the squash, the stock, and the lime leaf and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes.
• Remove the lime leaf and puree the squash mixture in a blender until smooth. Pass through a food mill and return to the pot over medium-low heat. Add the coconut milk and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with Thai basil.

Makes about 2 quarts

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