Freestyle Fashion Pumpkin Soup

25 Oct

Pumpkin soup is a fantastic, warm, hearty meal for fall. My version is not sweet, but it can be adapted in many ways.  Soups are some of the easiest meals to freestyle fashion. This recipe makes roughly three dinner size portions and is awesome with some crusty bread and goat cheese.

Take three small pumpkins and cut them in half. This part is a bitch. I am a distance swimmer with considerable upper body strength, and I find it nearly impossible. Use a very sharp, thin knife, and keep your fingers clear of the work. Next time, I will be experimenting with microwaving the pumpkins whole to soften them a little bit before cutting into them. This will be delicate, because I don’t want them exploding all over the microwave. If you try this, definitely puncture the skin before attempting this.

Once you have the pumpkins cut in half, scoop out the seeds and set them aside. I microwaved the pumpkin halves for 5 minutes on high to shorten the time in the oven. Be careful- they will be hot!. Smear olive oil on the inside of the pumpkin halves and roast them in a 400 degree oven until they are soft. This may take up to 30-40-50 minutes depending on if you pre-microwaved and the thickness of the pumpkin.

While the pumpkin is roasting, slice and saute an onion in a little bit of olive oil. After about 10-20 minutes slice portabella mushrooms and add them to the saute pan. The moisture in the mushrooms will require you to stir frequently. Red or green bell peppers or chilies would be a great addition to the saute.

Remove the pumpkin seeds from the inner flesh, toss them with a little bit of salt and pepper, and spread them out on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake them in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

Once the pumpkins are roasted and cool enough to handle, scoop out the inner flesh into a blender. Add several teaspoons of smoked paprika, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Start small and add as you blend. You can always add more, but you can never remove. Add liquid as necessary to make the blender work. I use water to keep it healthy, but stock, milk, or cream would only add more depth of flavor. Blend until completely smooth. Check spice and seasoning levels and adjust as necessary. Stir in sautéed vegetables. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds. Delicious warm or room temperature.

To freestyle this recipe, change up the sautéed veggies and spices. Curry powder or garam masala would make it sweet and spicy. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger would make it taste like pumpkin pie. Any of your favorite spices would be good on the pumpkin seeds as well. Crumbled bacon would be really good, but less healthy and not vegetarian. This time, I swirled chopped arugula into my bowl for crunch and kick.

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