Caribbean Pumpkin Soup

*This is the BEST SOUP EVER!  Thanks Tracy for sharing! : )

1 small calabaza or a piece of a large one or 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into large chunks (about 3 pounds)

2 Granny Smith apples, seeded and diced
4 medium onions, peeled, diced
2-3 red bell peppers, roasted, seeded or use jarred roasted red peppers, torn into large pieces
2 ripe cherry peppers or 1 ripe jalapeño, seeded, minced
¾ -inch of a ginger knob, peeled, minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1 can (14oz) roasted diced tomatoes or 1 can regular diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon dried thyme (or use fresh)
1 bay leaf
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons e.v. olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups coconut milk (if using canned, the ‘light’ version is fine)
3-5 T turbinado or brown sugar
Salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and apple and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion starts browning a bit, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the thyme and bay leaf. Add the cherry pepper, ginger and garlic and cook till fragrant, stirring, about 45 seconds. Add the entire contents of the canned diced tomatoes, the roasted pepper pieces, and the calabaza chunks. Stir and add the chicken stock and coconut milk. Partially cover and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook till the calabaza is very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf then purée very well. Add half the sugar, taste and add more if necessary (shoot for balance); add salt and white pepper to taste.
Serve the soup as is, or garnished with a dollop of sour cream or, my preference, garnished with a dollop of sour cream topped with finely minced pickled jalapeño.

*To make this Vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth.

Makes about a gallon
16  Servings

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