Pumpkin Pistachio Soup With Lemon Grass

Rating: 
Yield: 
4 or 5 (1 cup) servings.
Ingredients: 

1 Small, fresh red chile
3 tablespoons Sugar
1 1/4 cups Whole, shelled American pistachios
1 1/2 pounds Seeded fresh pumpkin or butternut squash
Shallots
2 stalks Lemon grass (available in large supermarkets or
Asian specialty stores)
1 tablespoon Butter or margarine
3 cups Vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon Ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon Ground cloves
6 tablespoons Light sour cream or crème fraîche
Fresh cilantro

Instructions: 

Seed and finely chop chile. Melt sugar over low heat in skillet until it is a light brown caramel color. Add chile and pistachios and stir to coat. Turn mixture out of pan onto foil or wax paper and let cool. Pare pumpkin or squash and cut into cubes. Peel and chop shallots. Cut lemon grass into 4-inch lengths. Melt butter in large saucepan, add shallots and lemon grass, cover and cook 1 minute. Add cubed pumpkin or squash, stock, pepper and cloves. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Discard lemon grass. Puree pumpkin mixture in food processor or electric blender. Return to saucepan. Whisk in sour cream, heat gently then pour into wide soup bowls. Top with cilantro and caramelized pistachios.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!