I adore pumpkin in nearly any form. I think I love pumpkins because they appear during my birthday month. Maybe not, though. Because, truly: I love to eat them. Almost any way. While I’m sure pumpkin soup has been around a long time (A quick peek at my historical cookbooks, however makes no mention of it. American Cookery 1796 has a recipe for Pumpkin Pudding. Fanny Farmer, 1896, lists only pumpkin pie. The Household Searchlight Recipe Book, 1931, has listings for canning pumpkin, making pumpkin custard, jam, and pie with cheese crust–but no soup,) I had never tasted it until 1985 when we went to live in Spokane, Washington, and my God’s gift of a neighbor, Joyce Smith, made pumpkin soup in the pumpkins for a holiday meal. Ten years later, I traveled right here to St. Paul, and good cook Lani Jordan whipped up a pumpkin-peanut butter soup for Sue’s birthday lunch.
My own soup was years later coming. Late 90’s maybe. By now, it comes in several guises. I sometimes blend cooked, ripe pears and apples into the mix.. or other batches contain a touch of vanilla and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on top. One memorable pot was ladled into bowls with my sweet-crunch “Go Nuts” as garnish. I’ve also been known to use a mix of squashes and vegetables (also cooked dried beans) with the soup and up the heat factor, as well.
While, according to an old Craig Claiborne book, you can steam unpeeled pieces of pumpkin and later peel and mash them, I’m by now definitely attached to opening a can. As are many women. And…
Pumpkin anything is pretty simple if you’re willing to used canned pumpkin. I also adore butternut squash soup, but if you want to make butternut squash anything, you have to peel and cook the rock-hard thing. Which takes a lot of effort. I buy a new peeler every year because the winter squash wreaks havoc with them. Even Paula Deen gets one of her boys to peel her squash. (My children don’t seem to be waiting in the wings to peel my squash. Where are you?) Your other option is to pay through the nose for already cut-up butternut squash. I’m not doing that. But pumpkin! Well, that’s why God made Libby’s, right? (Or go ahead and roast or microwave a whole one if you have to, but after trying it once, you’ll head to the grocery store canned aisle.) I seem to be on a pumpkin jag lately–both in this blog and in Dinner Place. So! Go ahead and make pumpkin soup. Did I say it’s quick? (Doubles or triples easily for a larger group.)
CURRIED PUMPKIN SOUP
serves 4 (or 6 small first course servings)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup each chopped onion and celery
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-2 inch pieces (don’t peel)
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (more if your curry powder is mild)
- 1 quart (4 cups, 32 ounces) low sodium chicken broth or stock
- 15-ounce can pumpkin
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon curry powder, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, or more to taste
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a 4-6 quart small stockpot over medium heat and add onions, celery, and carrots. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and cook five minutes or so until somewhat softened. Add parsley and garlic during last minute of cooking.
- Pour in chicken stock and stir in pumpkin and applesauce. Add curry and ginger. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir again.
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer until the vegetables are quite tender.
- Puree using immersion blender in pot or pour soup into food processor or blender and puree in small batches. Whichever method you choose, be quite careful; the soup is hot. If using blender, hold down a doubled up dish towel over the lid to keep it tightly in place.
- Ladle soup into bowls, top with a sprig or two of parsley and drizzle with a bit of heavy cream to create an attractive pattern.
*I keep a variety of small jars of curry powder, but like Penzey’s Maharajah curry powder as the spices are the ones I enjoy and the heat is moderate. If you use a hotter powder, use a bit less. If you use a milder one, you might want to add a few drops of hot sauce. You can also make your own curry powder from ground tumeric, coriander, cumin, cardomom, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, etc. Or you can read The Surly Vegetarian and get a great recipe for curry.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Life in the ‘Hood
|Cooks just want to have fun: Making pie crust cookies.|
|The last of Wendy’s heirloom tomatoes that ripened on the windowsill in my dining room for two weeks.|
|Under 5 minutes in the microwave: great acorn squash.|
|Rustica Bakery, Minneapolis: on BA’s list of ten best bakeries in the U.S. Yep.|
|Rustica Bakery’s almond croissant.|
|Rustica Bakery: a bit more elegant garnish, eh? This is their latte.|
|58 years in the neighborhood, Troos comes to check Dave’s work on the vegetable garden.|
|Under the bushes he dug out, an old glass jar appears.|
|Appears to have been buried by Julie in 1965. Troos doesn’t remember Julie.|
|One of the thousands of crazy, crazy squirrels in Tangletown this year.|
|This is a tiny bush with precious blooms in my south garden.|
|This chickadee cracks her seeds between her toes.|
|All cleaned up for Opus and Olives Sunday night downtown with 850 other Friends of the St. Paul Library supporters.|
|Lani and Jeanne after dinner having fun.|
It’s been a warm week. Two days we even had the AC on to cook and sleep. Weird October.
We have guests for dinner two nights coming up,a trip south with a friend to pick up a new puppy, Book Club here Tuesday, rehearsal on Wednesday and also Taize service in conjuction with Cabrini Catholic Church in Minneapolis. Come worship@ 6:30 (Wed, 10/14) at Prospect Park United Methodist. Take an hour bite out of your life to unplug, sit quietly, and reflect. It’d do ya good. Sounds like we’ll need it too.
Sing a new song of fall…leaves and pumpkins and wind and cooler temperatures,