Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pumpkin Everything. Curry Pumpkin Soup

The past two days started to feel like fall in Vermont. The air is crisp, the apple orchards are ripe, and some of the leaves are starting to change their colors. I love autumn and like many, pumpkin flavored anything. Sure carving jack-o-lanterns is fun, but pumpkins are also edible and delicious! This year I grew pie pumpkins in my garden and roasted the first pumpkin this week. It was so big I had enough for pumpkin soup and a fresh pumpkin pie (I’m not much of a pie person, but it’s my boyfriend’s favorite).  

Pumpkins are chock full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are wonderful to incorporate into soups, breads, or stews. Pumpkin soup is a classic dish, and depending on how it is made it can be a healthy, or a not-so-healthy soup. I avoid using cream and butter in my cooking and will instead go with evaporated milk or canned coconut milk, depending on the flavors I want to use. Pumpkin soup can be traditional, with flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, but my favorite is a spicy curry soup. I let it simmer longer than I usually do and the result was a thicker and more intensely flavored soup, which I loved.

 

Cooking Fresh Pumpkins

Cooking pumpkin is easy! You want to make sure you have a pumpkin variety that is good for cooking. Popular varieties include pie pumpkins, or sugar pumpkins and they tend to be on the smaller side (4-8 pounds).


Oven-version:


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove stem and bottom of pumpkin and slice in half. Remove the seeds and set aside.
2. Place in a baking dish with 1 inch of water and bake for 1-2 hours until soft. Cool and scrape out flesh with a spoon.

 

Stovetop version:

1. Half and peel the pumpkin and remove the seeds.
2. Cut into 2” cubes and boil over medium to high heat for 30 minutes or until soft.

 

For a smoother texture (which I recommend) puree in a food processor with a small amount of water.  


Don't toss the seeds! They can be baked and are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber! Add to salads, baked goods, or as a snack. To bake the pumpkin seeds: Rinse well and pat with paper towel. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper and evenly distribute on a baking sheet.Bake at 350 degrees for ~20 minutes or until crispy


Curry Pumpkin Soup

Makes 6 servings

 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 tsp chopped garlic

½ tsp minced ginger

½ cup onion, diced

~2 cups fresh pumpkin or 1- 14oz canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 can of coconut milk

3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1-2 Tbsp curry powder

½ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

 

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes until soft.
2. Add pumpkin, coconut milk, broth and spices and simmer over medium heat, uncovered for 30-60 minutes.
3. Serve hot, as an appetizer or with a salad for a light meal.

 

Nutrition Facts: 1 cup

180 calories, 16 g fat (13 g saturated), 7 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein, 130 mg sodium

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