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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thirty Minute Savory Pumpkin Soup, Two Ways




For many years, I will admit that I resisted trying pumpkin soup, thinking of this fruit of fall only meant for pies and maybe some sweet breads. However, once I tried it, I became a fan. 

Now, with so much pumpkin pureed (see the last post for details), it seemed time to do some experimenting, and I discovered I could use a basic format to make both curried and Mexican themed soups with only a few variations--and, best of all, either version took less than 30 minutes from start to finish and both are easily doubled. As with most soups, both are especially good reheated. (The best way to reheat soup is to warm individual servings in the microwave.)

Whichever you choose, this is a great way to make a quick week night supper that helps you get a serving (or two!) of this beneficial dark orange vegetable. Frugal, fast, healthy, and fun!

Following the recipes are a few hints for quick preparation and ideas for turning the soups vegan. 


Spicy Curried Pumpkin Soup

1 T canola or olive oil
3/4 c chopped onion (1 medium to large)
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t turmeric
1 t (or more, to taste) curry powder
sprinkle of cayenne pepper, to taste
2 bouillon cubes--chicken or vegetable (using the latter will keep this vegtarian)
2 c water
1 c pumpkin puree
1 c evaporated milk (small can OR half a large can)
1 t sugar, to taste (optional)

1.  Saute the onion in the oil until golden and just barely tender. 
2.  Stir in the seasonings and cook for a minute or less, just to release some of the flavor but not long enough to burn. (The house is going to start smelling really wonderful about now!)
3.  Add the pumpkin, bouillon cubes, and water. Stir and continue cooking over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. 
4.  Transfer the mixture to processor or blender and blend into a smooth puree. (I don't have an immersion blender, but this would probably be a perfect place to use one if you have it.)
5. Return the soup to the pan and stir in the evaporated milk. Taste for seasonings, adding sugar if desired. Bring the mixture back to steaming hot, but do not boil.

If desired, garnish with some chopped cilantro. Makes about a quart, enough for 4 to 5 servings.

Mexican Style Savory Pumpkin Soup

1 T canola or olive oil
3/4 c chopped onion (1 medium to large)
1 t garlic powder
1 to 3 t chili powder, to taste
2 t cumin
1/2 t oregano
sprinkle of cayenne pepper, to taste
2 bouillon cubes--chicken or vegetable (using the latter will keep this vegtarian)
2 c water
1 c pumpkin puree
1 c evaporated milk (small can OR half a large can)
1 t sugar, to taste (optional)

1.  Saute the onion in the oil until golden and just barely tender. 
2.  Stir in the seasonings and cook for a minute or less, just to release some of the flavor but not long enough to burn. (The house is going to start smelling really wonderful about now!)
3.  Add the pumpkin, bouillon cubes, and water. Stir and continue cooking over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. 
4.  Transfer the mixture to processor or blender and blend into a smooth puree. (I don't have an immersion blender, but this would probably be a perfect place to use one if you have it.)
5. Return the soup to the pan and stir in the evaporated milk. Taste for seasonings, adding sugar if desired. Bring the mixture back to steaming hot, but do not boil.

If desired, garnish with some chopped cilantro. Makes about a quart, enough for 4 to 5 servings.


Variations:

Both soups use garlic powder, but fresh minced garlic (2 to 4 large cloves, to taste) could also be used. I used garlic powder because it does cut off a few minutes of prep time. 

If you have broth available, that could be substituted for some or all of the water; omit the bouillon cubes if all broth is used. 

For a vegan version, the evaporated milk could be replaced with soy milk or, especially with the curried version, coconut milk. 

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And then, one last, totally unrelated, picture:


The week before Thanksgiving I visited my favorite local orchard (Sekapps in Rochester MN--great place to go!) and discovered that one of their farm suppliers had brought in a last load of watermelon.  Minnesota watermelon in November! Turned out to be pretty good too, amazing for this time of the season in the #11 city on a list of the coldest US cities.

So, until next season, farewell to watermelon too.




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