Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chunky Gingered Pumpkin Soup

Bowl of soup garnished with chives and dollop of yogurt
Pumpkin Soup with a Difference

Recipe by Robin


There are tons of recipes for smooth and creamy pumpkin soups, and my husband is bored by all of them. “What could you put in there to make some texture?” he asks. Interestingly enough, pumpkin naturally has a stringy texture, which most recipes puree into submission. At this time of year pumpkins are largely dehydrated, and when cut into chunks the strings make an agreeable bumpiness, not unlike chunks of spuds in potato salad. Add some ginger and turmeric, and voila, a unique pumpkin soup with an earthy heartiness that even a hefty he-man can love.

Chunks of Pumpkin Coated with Onions, Leeks, and Spices
Adding Pumpkin and Spices
Speaking of hefty he-men, the ginger and turmeric idea comes from a curry by my neighbor Joe, who also created Pumpkin Mash with Peanuts and Spinach. Both recipes honor our winter tradition of using leftover pumpkins from fall decorations. 

Grated Ginger, Grated Turmeric, and Cinnamon Sticks
Soup Spice
This year's first "decoration to food" pumpkin was an 8 lb. Cinderella pumpkin, a sweet variety that’s perfect for desserts and muffins as well as soup. The soup recipe can be doubled if you want to use the whole pumpkin. Soup is an efficient way to use up large pumpkins; my second half-pumpkin made a double batch of Spiced Pumpkin Pudding plus a dozen Maple Pumpkin Muffins—a lot more work!  Cinderella pumpkin seeds are also delicious toasted, sweeter than most pumpkin seeds.

I’ve listed varying spice quantities for you to adjust to your liking. I like the dish quite spicy, with the maximum amount. If you’re unsure, go with a smaller quantity the first time. You can always add a sprinkle of ginger, cinnamon, and/or turmeric at the end.

Chunky Gingered Pumpkin Soup
serves ~10

½ of 8-lb. Cinderella pumpkin
2 small leeks
1 medium onion
1 – 2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 – 2 tsp. grated fresh turmeric
 1 – 2 cinnamon sticks
1½ tbsp. peanut oil
1 quart veggie or beef broth or bouillon
½ tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (optional)
½ tbsp. brown sugar (optional)
Green onions (optional garnish)
Greek yogurt (optional garnish)

Remove strings and seeds from pumpkin. Cut into approximately 1-inch cubes, slicing off skin and any remaining strings. You will have 9 – 10 cups pumpkin.

Slice leeks. Finely chop onion. You will have about 1½ cups of leeks and onions.

Heat peanut oil in bottom of 8 quart soup pot. Saut̩ leeks and onions till golden, about 3 Р4 minutes. Do not brown.

Toss grated ginger and turmeric, pumpkin cubes, and cinnamon sticks into pot. Stir from bottom to coat with oil and onions.

Add broth or bouillon, cover pot and bring to boil. Simmer for about 25 minutes, until pumpkin is softened. Stir with wooden spoon to break up pumpkin and thicken broth, but leave some substantial chunks of pumpkin.

Taste and adjust or enhance seasonings if desired. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos adds a little salty savory note, and brown sugar adds sweetness. Stir to blend in seasoning.

Serve in bowls with sprinkling of green onions and/or dollop of yogurt if desired.

Closeup of soup texture
Hearty Texture Makes a Substantial Meal

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