For fun, I posted a notice to my Facebook community: “CHALLENGE ME: Name your favorite fresh, seasonal ingredient and I will incorporate the first four ingredients posted into a recipe.” The four ingredients I was challenged with were: pumpkin, pomegranates, rainbow chard and porcini mushrooms, so I decided to make a nice, hearty soup. The soup turned out really delicious and was quite filling.
1 sugar pumpkin (mine was 6 pounds)
1 shallot, diced
1/2 large white onion, diced
2 cups chicken stock (I used Better Than Bouillion Organic Chicken Base)
2 cups coconut milk
Rainbow chard, stems removed and cut into ribbons
Shitake mushrooms, diced (I was unable to find fresh porcinis and preferred not to used dried ones)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pomegranate, de-seeded
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out all of the seeds with a large spoon. (Either discard the seeds, or roast them for snacking)*. Place the two pumpkins halves cut-side-down in a baking pan in about an inch of water. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté the shallot and onion in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat in a tablespoon of coconut oil, cooking until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 4 minutes more. Add the chicken stock and let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Turn the burner off and let the soup sit.
After 40 minutes, remove one half of the pumpkin and return the second half to the oven and bake another 10-15 minutes until quite soft. Separate the first pumpkin half from its skin and cut the pulp into bite-sized chunks and add to the chicken stock. Turn the burner back on to medium until the soup is heated up, then reduce heat to low.
Remove the second pumpkin half from the over and scrape all of the pulp off of the skin. Place pulp in a blender with coconut milk. Add half of the onion-mushroom soup mixture to the blender. Blend until puréed. Add purée to the soup pot, add a teaspoon of cinnamon, stirring until combined.
Add chard to the soup, stirring once, letting the chard wilt. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a spoonful of pomegranate seeds.
*To roast fresh pumpkin seeds, preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Toss seeds in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of melted butter and a pinch of salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stirring occasionally.
If you make this recipe, snap a pic of your dish and hashtag it #kellylenihancooks. I'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
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