It's easy to glance around at the market stands and wonder what happened to all of the wonderful veggies as we edge into Fall. Yes, the summer tomatoes, and eggplants are gone but replaced all apples, squash, and Pumpkins! It's a new season full of wonderful new crops and Pumpkins are one of them that need your attention. They are a heck of a lot more useful than just carving for the Holidays.
First, there is a difference in pumpkins raised for carving, and sugar pumpkins that are smaller, full of flesh, and perfect for cooking. These are the ones you want for soups, and pies, they have more flesh and a great taste. Today I picked up two that were about 3.5 pounds which set me back about $10 total. (Local and organic of course).
Preparing pumpkins for a meal works the same was as a Winter Squash. Bake it, steam it, or boil it. I prefer to bake them which is super easy. Just cut them in half, scrape out the seeds, and brush with Olive Oil. Bake, cut side down on a baking dish at 350 for about an hour or until the outer skin can easily be pierced with a fork. Let cool then scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
I love the two distinct flavors of this dish and how they go so well together. Serve with some fresh bread and this makes a nice and somewhat light dinner that will be sure to warm you up on a cool Fall evening.
This soup recipe comes in two parts, the actual soup, and then the Kale Pesto garnish for the top. I think that the pesto compliments it so well and Kale thrives as weather gets cooler.
To Make the Soup:
- 2 small sugar pumpkins: Prepare 2 small pumpkins by baking for 1 hour as noted above. Scoop out the flesh into a bowl and roughly break apart with a fork. Set aside.
2 small yellow onions, diced
5 gloves of garlic crushed
2 stalks of celery
8 Cups Water or vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 TBSP curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 TBSP dried thyme
1 tsp. aromatic bitters (that you use in cocktails)
1/2 Cup cream
1/4 Cup chopped parsley
3 TBSP Flour
- 1 tsp ground smoked paprika
1 tsp ground smoked jalapeno powder
In a dutch oven or cast iron pot, saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic, parsley, celery and all herbs. Saute another 2 min. Add the flour and stir 1 min. Slowly pour in 2 cups of the broth while whisking the sauce. Add remaining broth slowly and bring to a boil. Add the pumpkin. Add the bitters. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 1 hour.
Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Using a hand blender, blend until smooth.
Add the cream and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To Make the Pesto Garnish:
- 4 Cups steamed Kale, stems removed
- 1/4 Cup raw sunflower seeds
- 4 Cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Heat a skillet to a medium high heat and add sunflower seeds. Continue to stir until the seed start to brown and pop. Remove from heat and set aside.
Steam the Kale and squeeze out any excess moisture with your hands.
In a Food processor combine the seeds and garlic and pulse until combined. Add the Kale and while on low, continuously add the oil until smooth. Add the lemon Juice and set aside. Season with salt and pepper.
slowly add spoonfuls of the pesto on top of the soup prior to serving.