I was given a vast pumpkin of questionable heritage the other day. That is okay, I don’t need to know all my pumpkins by their first name, but the problem was, it hadn’t been harvested carefully. The stem had been pulled right out of the top of the pumpkin, so within a few days it started going sticky and growing its own hair. So, to the Cookie House! And in true homesteader fashion, when life gives you a vast pumpkin, make a vast pot of pumpkin soup!
As you can see from the photo, it is a pretty pallid pumpkin, so I doubt it is going to have a lot of flavour, and this cheeky little fellow down in front was waving at me from my pot of snapdragons the other day, so he can go in the pot too.
If these pumpkins had a little more colour and flavour I would probably make a cream of pumpkin soup, but they are pretty bland and I am in the mood for some robust flavours today so I am going to make a curried pumpkin soup. Do bear in mind that I said a VAST pot of soup, I am going to make about five litres, so make sure you adjust the recipe if you don’t want that much.
4 large onions, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Every bit of garlic you can find in the house, fresh, jarred, dried, if you have two full bulbs, throw them both in, we are making a winter soup
3 carrots, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons mild curry powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric
2 potatoes peeled and diced
enough pumpkin to fill your pot most of the way up, in big chunks
water enough to cover the veg
1 can coconut cream
coconut natural yogurt to add when serving
So the first thing to notice here is that we are not just using pumpkin in our pumpkin soup. I have worked with chefs who consider that pumpkin
+ water + chicken stock powder makes a good soup. It doesn’t. Remember how we talked about to obtain flavour, we must add flavour? Well, this is a good example of that. I have added my onion and garlic for our Sulfur flavours, carrot will give me sweetness, potato will give me a silken texture, you may also have noticed I peeled it, something I do not often do, as much of a potato’s nutrition is just under the skin, but this will be a very silky, puréed soup and I don’t want the gritty bits of skin in it. I have my two pumpkins, but really, look at the colour of these -
—there isn’t going to be a whole lot of flavour in them, so we are really using our pumpkin here as bulk. If I had a sweet potato, or a parsnip, or a couple of stems of celery I would add them, but I don’t so this will have to do.
So, begin by putting your onion and your olive oil into your vast pot and simmer it all until it becomes fragrant and translucent, don’t be in a rush, a rush will give you burnt bits, which will be bitter, which will make your soup yukky. Let it just sit and chat away to itself until it looks like this -
Now add your garlic and carrot, cook for a couple more minutes, then stir in your spices and stir around until it is all lovely and fragrant. You will notice I have used a mild curry powder here instead of mixing up my own concoction, there are times when only your own concoction will do, we will make a nice madras soon, that is one I always build from the ground up, but for something like this a nice mild curry powder will do just fine. I have added cumin, because I think cumin is the nicest spice of all, and turmeric because I have a really sore back at the moment and turmeric is a really good ant-inflammatory, but other than that we are not going to be a curry snob, this will be delicious, I promise.
Right, now toss in your potato and pumpkin and fill the pot to about an inch off the top with water.
Doesn’t look like much, does it? It will be gorgeous, I promise. Now, bring it to a simmer and walk away from it, let it cook for at least an hour, stirring occasionally and topping up with water if necessary, until everything is very tender and falling to pieces.
What do you think? Look ready to purée? Let’s ask the carrot, if it is ready, everything else will be. Still hard as a rock? Okay, give it a stir and leave it for a bit longer.
When the carrots give you the thumbs up, remove from heat, purée, stir in your can of coconut cream, season to taste, serve with a big spoonful of your natural coconut yogurt and wa-la.
Enough curried pumpkin soup to last you all week. Though it does freeze very well, which may be a better option when we are talking about this much soup.