Sunday, November 20, 2011

Soup Sunday: Thai Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Goat Cheese Bombs, Chive Cream, & Candied Pepitas

Whenever we go out to eat at a restaurant, I always take little mental notes in my head of the dishes that I loved, so I can try to recreate them at home. Well, when we went to lunch at one of my favorite little cafes in Savannah, Cafe Zeum, we had the best thai tomato soup with goat cheese. We seriously gobbled it up, and I knew that I just had to make it. However, I make tomato soup all the time, and since it is pumpkin season, I decided to switch out tomatoes with roasted pumpkin. The soup was so hearty and delicious. I put my own little twist on the recipe by frying goat cheese balls, drizzling it with chive cream, and topping it with candied pumpkin seeds. This seriously is the oddest soup, but somehow all the components come together to make a tasty Thai concoction. And for all you people who love to kill yourself with spicy food (like we do... we like to be in pain from heat), drizzle some Sriracha on top to really put the dish over the top!! Enjoy :)
Thai Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Goat Cheese Bombs, Chive Cream, & Candied Pepitas
Crispy Goat Cheese Bombs are the Best Ever. Trust Me. 
For the Soup:
2 Small Pumpkins, Cut into Halves & Roasted
1 Onion, Roughly Chopped
1 Pear, Chopped
3T Butter, Room Temperature
2 14oz Can of Coconut Milk
1C Chicken Stock
1T Lemon Juice
4oz Thai Red Curry Paste
4 Thai Basil Leaves, Minced
Sugar, To Taste
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Candied Pepitas:
1 ½C Pepitas, Toasted
½C Sugar
Pinch of Salt, Cinnamon & Cayenne

For the Chive Cream:
¼C Sour Cream
½C Heavy Cream
Handful of Chives, Minced
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Crispy Goat Cheese Bombs:
Goat Cheese, Rolled into Golf-Size Balls & Chilled
½C AP Flour
1 Egg, Beaten
2T Milk
½C Italian Panko Breadcrumbs
Salt, For Sprinkling 
1. To Roast the Pumpkins: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully cut each pumpkin into halves and slather them with butter and sprinkle with salt. Place on the prepared baking sheet, skin side down, and place in the oven. Roast the pumpkins for about an hour or until they are tender throughout. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a large pot over medium-high heat.
2. For the Candied Pepitas: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes until just toasted. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Meanwhile, pour the sugar into a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon while the sugar melts. Keep stirring until the color turns a medium amber color. Once that color is reached, add in the walnuts to the pan and quickly stir to coat. As soon as they are coated, spread them onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Let them cool completely before garnishing on top of the soup.
3. To Make the Soup: Melt the butter and sauté the onions and pear until tender. Add in the roasted pumpkin. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, lemon juice, Thai basil, and curry paste to the pumpkin, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender. Bring up to a simmer again and season to taste with salt, pepper, and sugar.
4. For the Chive Cream: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream and heavy cream. Add in the minced chives and seasonings, and then blend with an immersion blender until a smooth cream is formed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5. For the Crispy Goat Cheese Bombs: Set up a battering station. I use 3 pie tins. For the first station, I mix the flour. For the second station, I whisk together the eggs and milk. For the third station, use the Italian Panko breadcrumbs. Now, place the balls of chilled goat cheese into the flour mixture, then into the egg wash, and finally the panko (making sure they are completely covered). Put the breaded balls on a tin foil-lined baking sheet with a cooling rack on top, and then put the pan into the refrigerator and let the sticks rest for about 15-30 minutes. In a small pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil has heated, fry the goat cheese balls for 1-2 minutes or until golden-brown & crispy (without over-melting the cheese). Place them onto a baking sheet & sprinkle with salt.
6. To Assemble the Soup: Ladle the pumpkin soup into a large bowl and drizzle the top with some of the chive cream and Sriracha. Sprinkle some candied pepitas and minced chives around the edge, and then place a crispy goat cheese bomb on top of the soup, and enjoy immediately (before the crispy ball becomes soggy from the soup).

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