It’s autumn and pumpkins are everywhere — grocery stores, garden centers, Farmer’s Markets, pumpkin farms.
So what does one do with all these pumpkins? In my case, make a horrible mess. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First things first: pumpkins are edible. In fact, they are delicious. Basically, you cook them like most other edible squash, such as acorn, butternut, spaghetti. But our culture fetishizes carving them into scary jack-o-lanterns, so many people think edible pumpkin only comes in a can.
Large pumpkins are for decoration. They are purposely overgrown and the flesh is too pulpy. Cooking pumpkins are the medium sized ones, about the size of a large softball. The smaller ones make cute serving vessels.
A while ago, I picked up a cooking pumpkin and a couple of smaller ones to make pumpkin soup, but I didn’t get to it until yesterday. Pumpkin soup is easy, but there are multiple steps. And it can be dangerous, as we’ll see.
A few days ago, I cut the cooking pumpkin in half, removed the guts and seeds, sprayed both sides with cooking spray and roasted it in a 375F oven for about 35 minutes until it was soft. When it cooled, I scooped out the meat, threw away the skin and refrigerated the roast pumpkin.
Yesterday, I pulled out all my ingredients and went about making the soup. All was well until it came time to blend it. In a commercial kitchen, I would use an immersion blender, which is a giant version of one of those blending sticks that used to be popular for making smoothies and such.
Sadly, I don’t own one of these, so I used my blender. I filled it about 3/4 full with hot, chunky pumpkin soup, held down the lid with a dishtowel and flipped it on.
The soup exploded out of the blender and went all over everything — me, the windows, the curtains, the ceiling, the ceiling fan, one of the dogs, everything. It seems when the blades kicked on a burst of steam blew the lid off the blender despite my holding it down. Fortunately, nothing was injured except my pride.
The next batch, I only filled the blender 1/3 full, pulsed the toggle switch, rather than throwing it full throttle, and held the lid down tight. No more trouble.
So while pumpkin soup is not difficult, be careful when blending it. If possible, use an immersion blender. If not, let the soup cool before blending it in small batches. You can always reheat it later.
I’m going to go towel off now. Here’s the recipe:
2 TBS whole butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and medium chop
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 gypsy peppers (only because I had them, not critical)
1-1/2 qt chicken stock
4 cups mashed pumpkin
1/2 cup apple juice
1 green apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1 TBS dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream (for garnish)
1. Cut pumpkin in half, scoop out guts and seeds, pan spray then place flat side down on cooking sheet and roast in 375F oven until soft, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool, scoop out meat and refrigerate until needed (can be done days ahead of time).
2. In large pot, melt butter over medium flame. Add onions, carrots, celery and peppers and cook until translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute, then add pumpkin, chicken stock, apple juice, apple, ginger, thyme, cinnamon and allspice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. Blend with an immersion blender, or allow to cool and carefully blend in blender in small batches (1/3 full). Reheat if necessary.
4. For garnish, whisk together 1/2 cup of sour cream with 1 TBS cold water. Pour into squeeze bottle and zig zag over soup. Add thyme or parsley sprig for a color.
A note on pumpkin seeds: When you clean your pumpkin, rinse the seeds in a colander under cold water. Remove everything except the seeds. Spread out on a sheet pan, pat with paper towel, then dry overnight uncovered.
The next day, cover sheet pan in foil (pumpkin seeds pop like popcorn) and cook in 350F oven for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool. Eat while pitching a baseball game.
Do you have any cool pumpkin recipes? Why not share them in the comments section below? And thanks for looking at my blog!