Pumpkin Quince Soup
I bought a sugar pumpkin and three lovely quince yesterday at Nash’s, my favorite farm store. Quince are really special, not for their golden color, but for the beautiful translucent ruby color they turn after roasting or sauteing.
I thought it might be interesting to make pumpkin soup incorporating one of the quince for a little brightness, but I’ll be roasting the other two for sure! For this soup, I added a tiny bit of Ethiopian berbere for a little heat, although you can use red pepper flakes. I also added rubbed sage and fresh basil. You can omit the basil and add curry, cinnamon or ginger instead.
When cooking with pumpkin, you want to be sure and choose a variety of pumpkin that’s intended for cooking rather than for decoration. The ubiquitous field pumpkin—the kind most commonly used to carve jack-o’-lanterns—has watery, stringy flesh and is not pleasant for consuming. Sugar pumpkins and cheese pumpkins are best for cooking and baking, thanks to their dense, sweet flesh.
Pumpkins keep well at room temperature for up to a month. Stored in a refrigerator, they can last up to three months. Once cut, pumpkin pieces should be wrapped tightly, refrigerated and used within five days.
This recipe would also be delicious with butternut or other squash. The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, it also freezes well.
- 4 cups sugar pumpkin puree*
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- one large shallot (or one leek)
- two cloves of garlic, minced
- Olive oil or coconut oil
- 13.5 ounces full fat coconut milk
- 1 large quince, peeled, cored and diced
- 1-2 tablespoons agave
- 8 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons (or 1 Tb. dried basil)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- Salt to taste
*You can use canned pumpkin or make your own purée using an edible pumpkin. To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. My pumpkin weighted 3-1/2 pounds. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 60 minutes. Let cool, and then scoop out the flesh. If your pumpkin produces more than 4 cups of pulp, you can freeze whatever you don’t need for future use. Reserve the seeds for toasting.
Heat at least 2 tablespoons of oil in a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots, quince and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add dried spices and stir for a minute more.
Add pumpkin and 3 cups of broth, stirring well to blend. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the slivered basil. Using an immersion blender, blend ingredients until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer soup in batches to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan. I like to leave some of the chunks for texture, so I only blend a little over half of the soup and smash the rest with a handheld potato masher.
With the soup on low heat, slowly add coconut milk while stirring to incorporate. If you’re not a big fan of coconut, use any preferred milk or heavy cream. Taste, then add a tablespoon of agave or maple syrup and stir, tasting for sweetness to determine if you need to add more or not. Adjust seasonings as needed. Salt to taste.
Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds or crispy fried sage leaves.
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