I woke up this morning to snow falling in the neighborhood. This was a vivid reminder that we are almost through October, and November is knocking at the door. The snow was also on the pumpkins and this too served as a reminder that this is the perfect time to start cooking and eating this versatile vegetable.
A little background on the pumpkin, it should be noted that pumpkins originated in the Americas and are now grown on all continents except Antarctica. It is a member of the squash family and the word originated from the Greek word for large melon, “Pepõn”. This was changed over the years via French, Old English and finally to the American English word “Pumpkin”.
Pumpkin was originally a staple food of Native Americans and its seeds were carried back to Europe by early explorers. The American settlers learned early to depend on the pumpkin and used it for everything from desserts to beer. Nowadays, if you ask someone what could you make with pumpkin, the most common answer would be pie.
Who doesn’t like a nice piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream, especially around the fall and winter holidays? While this may be true; and for those keeping score, it is one of my favorite pies, there are so many other culinary uses of this arguably most famous member of the squash family.
Some other items we have made over the years using Pumpkin are Bread and muffins. Our fall menu has Pumpkin Pancakes on the menu and they are always a hit. It is also great in Chili (Margit has made Turkey Pumpkin Chili for us this week and it was delicious!)
That being said, I thought I’d share a simple and quick pumpkin soup recipe that utilizes the spicy and pungent tastes of fresh ginger, curry and cayenne pepper, offset by the natural sweetness of the pumpkin. The recipe below has some baseline amounts of spices to start with, and as always taste before serving and adjust accordingly.
The particular recipe that I have uses pumpkin, curry and ginger. It is really quite simple and quick to make. If you are using fresh pumpkin you will need to boil or roast it first. It will also need to be pureed in a food processor or blender beforehand.
- 16 ounces canned pumpkin (or 2 cups cooked pureed Pumpkin)
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock (for vegetarian version use vegetable stock)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- Salt to taste
- Pinch Cayenne Pepper
- Teaspoon Pumpkin Seeds, Roasted (you may substitute sliced almond as well, toss them quickly in a dry high heat sauté pan to bring out best flavor)
- Dollop of Sour Cream (Optional)
- Combine pumpkin, stock, ginger, and curry powder in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Immediately Reduce heat and simmer 3 -5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. (The cayenne really adds a nice flavor but careful on how much you use, it will sneak up on you!)
- Place soup in bowls, and garnish with sour cream and pumpkin seeds (or almonds.) This is great as an opening course for dinner 4 servings. Or you can serve it with some whole grain rolls or bread and make it a dinner for two.
Enjoy the soup and the season!