Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Fall has arrived, and with the cooler temperatures and shorter days, my favorite symbol of the season has made its return to adorn porch steps across the country. Whether you use them for carving or cooking, pumpkins never disappoint—they are delicious in pies, pancakes, soups and chili—even lasagna! Here, I have prepared a roasted pumpkin soup with crispy sage leaves. My kitchen smells divine!
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’s also delicious with butternut or other squash. The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, it also freezes well.
4 Tb butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp curry powder (not a fan of curry, use ginger instead)
6 cups of roasted pumpkin* (can substitute three 15 oz cans 100% pumpkin)
5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups of coconut milk
1/4-1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
*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. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 50-60 minutes. Cool, scoop out the flesh. If your pumpkin produces more than 6 cups of pulp, you can freeze whatever you don’t need for future use. Reserve the seeds for toasting.
Melt butter in a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth, stirring well to blend. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
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, add half the coconut sugar and mix, tasting for sweetness to determine if you need to add the rest or not. Slowly add coconut milk while stirring to incorporate. I love coconut with curry, but if you’re not a big fan of coconut, use any preferred milk. Add heavy cream. Adjust seasonings as needed. Salt to taste.
Serve in individual bowls. Sprinkle the top of each with toasted pumpkin seeds and/or crispy sage leaves (recipes follow).
Note: I actually served the soup two ways. First serving was soup in a bowl topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and crispy sage leaves. Later, since there was leftovers, I spooned warm soup over cooked buckwheat and jumbo shrimp, with a little extra curry added to the mix. Delicious!
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Place the mass of pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from the stringy stuff.
Place the seeds in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with about a tablespoon of coconut oil. I used the same baking sheet that I had just finished roasting the pumpkin on, so the coconut oil melted upon contact. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don’t burn.
When nicely browned, remove the pan from the oven and transfer seeds to a paper towel-covered plate to cool. While still warm, lightly salt to taste if desired.
Crispy Sage Leaves
The leaves crisp up after they have been removed from the hot oil and begin to cool down. They can be made a couple of days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Fine grain sea salt
Wash your sage leaves and then ensure that they are very thoroughly dried. I spun mine in a lettuce spinner for a few moments. Set aside.
Line a plate with several layers of paper towel and set aside.
Place a small skillet over medium heat and allow to heat up for a minute or so. Add the coconut oil and then carefully add one of the fresh sage leaves. Check to see that your oil is hot enough so that the sage leaf fries in about 5 seconds per side. You may need to use the back of a fork to keep the leaf flat and submerged in the oil. After 5 seconds flip the sage leaf over and fry for an additional 5 seconds. The leaves should emerge a bright green with no hints of browning. Remove from the oil using tongs and place on the sheets of paper towel.
Once you have the proper temperature add 4 or 5 sage leaves at a time and cook the leaves in batches. If the leaves are turning brown or cooking too quickly turn the heat down to medium low. Once they are cooling on the sheets of paper towel, season with salt.
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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