The most festive and celebrated of gourds, pumpkins, enjoy a near celebrity-status in our apartment. By late September, the scouting begins, first for prospective jack-o-lanterns, then centerpieces and window adornments. Sadly, by early November, the carved ones have been decommissioned and the uncarved ones start giving hints that our time together is coming to a close. Their skin, once bright orange, leathery and taut, begins to dull and wrinkle. Their bodies soften, losing their denseness and familiar “thump” when tapped. Clearly, none of them will make it to Thanksgiving. Soup must be made.
Most pumpkin recipes call for canned pumpkin or roasted sugar pumpkins, not the Jack-O-Lantern variety. So, I improvised. I roasted. I sautéed. I simmered. I filled the kitchen with the fictitious aroma of fall in Thailand; coconut; ginger, cinnamon, and of course, pumpkin. But, the pulpy soup looked like fresh hay soaking in a puddle. I left it alone, but kept checking in on the mixture, hoping it might become less homely with time. After an hour, the mixture had softened, but now resembled old, soggy hay in a puddle of darkened, murky water.
More importantly, how did it taste? Completely unremarkable. It evoked barnyard cuisine, if there was such a thing. Surely the culinary cure-all, a can of coconut milk would fix this stock pot full of mess. I paused, waiting for a transformation, then smelled and tasted it again. It now evoked slightly tropical barnyard cuisine. So, I made flavor adjustments, adding more sea salt, a grated apple and some apple cider vinegar. And then I tasted again. Like magic, the pumpkins had done their own trick and treating. The soup had come together into liquid autumn, with only the skin going to waste. Mission accomplished.
Yield: 12 cups
- 4-quart stock pot (or larger)
- Blender or food processor
- 1 medium pumpkin (6 cups of pulp)
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1 medium or large apple, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, olive oil or butter
- 2-4 tablespoons Madras curry
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8th teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
- 1 can (2 cups) of organic coconut milk
- 2-4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
PUMPKIN ROASTING DIRECTIONS:
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Clean pumpkin inside and out, removing all the seeds.
- Cut the pumpkin in half from the top.
- Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, in a large baking dish or sheet.
- Add water to the bottom of the pan or sheet, filling it up about 1/4 inch.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes or until tender.
- Remove pan from the oven and let the pumpkin halves cool.
- Scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. It will look nothing like canned pumpkin. (See image below.)
- Store refrigerated in a glass container for up to five days.
- Heat the coconut oil in the stock pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions, apple, garlic and ginger and cook until the onions soften and are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne, allspice and 1 teaspoon of salt, stirring to coat the onion mixture.
- Add the water or broth and the pumpkin pulp.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Let the soup simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until the pulp is very soft.
- Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Process the soup until smooth. Unless using an immersion blender, return the soup to the pot.
- Add the coconut milk, up to 1 teaspoon of the remaining salt as needed and the apple cider vinegar.
- Reheat briefly over medium heat before serving.
- Type of Pumpkin: This recipe used jack-o-lantern-type pumpkin, not sugar pumpkins as used in most recipes.
- Type of Curry: Madras curry can have quite a bit more heat than regular curry powder. Using 4 tablespoons of Madras curry will create a soup with some kick. If you prefer less heat, use regular curry powder or just 2 tablespoons of Madras curry powder. Madras curry will also impart a darker, carmel color as compared to the more golden hue of regular curry powder.
- Garnish: Roasted pumpkin seeds are an obvious choice for a seasonal garnish. Here, I thinned out some Greek yogurt with almond milk and drizzled it barista-style.
- Reheating: This soup will thicken when cooled. When reheating, stir in some broth or water to thin to desired consistency.
- Pumpkin Nutrition: Pumpkins are very high in fiber, beta-carotene, potassium and has the lowest amount of carbohydrates of the squash family.
Originally published 11.13.13
What are your favorite ways to use up fresh pumpkin? Comment below!