Friday, February 6, 2009

Spicy Pumpkin Soup - SlowHome Style

I'm not going to lie, kids. This recipe I'm about to share was adapted from this one, over at Epicurious. But I have to say I like my version better and judging by the several happy dinner guests, you may too.

So did I blog about pumpkins last year? Mark and I always look forward to picking out pumpkins in October. We select very carefully, ride in wagons, drink cider, and our pumpkins usually end up with names by the time they get home.

See? I'm even wearing my favorite shirt. A friend and I were talking (waay back when things started getting nippy in her part of the country) about looking forward to pumkiny foods. But we noticed that you can't even find the most basic recipe that doesn't call for canned pumpkin. It's odd that we still handle this gourd every year, but the food part of it is completely removed from our homes. It pretty much only comes from a factory, even for people like me that cook from scratch 6+ nights a week. So this year we also got an eating pumpkin. And even though I still remember it's name, I did manage the butchering just a few weeks ago. I'll tell you how I did it, but before you think, "well, that must be a nice thing for a stay-at-home lady of lesiure to do," know that I was just a few months out from boob surgery #2, in the middle of physical therapy, and getting ready for an evening out while I broke this sucker down.

The Incredibly Simple Steps to Prepping a Pumpkin for Cooking:

1. Make sure your pumpkin is quite clean (nooks, crannies, etc.) and split him in half. Don't be intimidated. Go slow, use a sharp, large knife. Again, physical therapy girl did well here.

2. Scoop out seeds & fibers. Most eating pumpkins have very low seed-to-flesh ratios. It's a lot easier a job than with jack-o-lanterns. You can toast the seeds if you like. My pumpkin had about ten, so it wasn't worthwhile.

3. Place each half, skin side up, on a jelly roll sheet or roaster (a lot of juice may render, you need something to contain it well) and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 1 1/2 hours or until skin is very darkly burnished & bubbly. Your house will smell divine.

4. Scoop pumpkin out of skin. If it's completely cooked, you shouldn't need to mash it at all, but you can if you're on the cusp.

You can then use it straight away just as you would canned pumpkin. I divided mine up and froze half. Also, if you keep your pumpkin around in the fridge for a few days or so, you may notice additional liquid separating from the cooked pumpkin, yogurt-like. Totally normal. I just poured it off as all my recipes had their own liquid.

The Incredibly Tasty Spicy Pumpkin Soup:
Serves 14

1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

6 tbsp butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalepeno peppers, seeded & diced
5 2/3 c. (45 oz.) pumpkin
2 c. whole milk
1 1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
2 tsp. nutmeg
9 c. vegetable broth

3/4 c. toasted pepitas and a few dashes sweet paprika, to garnish

Whisk first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Cover & chill.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and jalepenos and saute until garlic is just starting to turn golden, stirring frequently. Mix in pumpkin, milk, and crushed red pepper. A little at a time, puree the mixture in a food processor or blender. Return puree to pot and add broth, stirring well. Add nutmeg and simmer 10 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with cream. Sprinkle with pepitas & a little sweet paprika, if you like.


Jenny Weddel said...

YUMMY!!!! Can one buy eating punkins at the regular store? Or must one go to Nate's Butt Farm or something of that ilk?

jessica said...

I haven't seen any at the grocery store, but you can check your local Farmer's Market or, yes, probably Bates. I admit to being a little late here. Pumpkin harvest season is long past, but they should still be keeping well if they've been cool.

Katherine said...

Yumma yumma!!