I was afraid that this soup, like so many unworthy recipes I’ve made in the past week, might never make it to this blog. I’d fiddled with the seasonings so much, even adding a major ingredient, that I was sure right up until the time we sat down to eat that I’d created another dud. But then I had a bite…and another…and soon I was scraping the bowl clean. Somehow all my fussing with it had worked; it was smooth, creamy, lightly sweet, with hints of orange and curry and roasted garlic.
What worked: adding chickpeas after the photo below was taken. What probably wasn’t necessary: coconut water (also called coconut juice). I wanted some of the sweetness and flavor of coconut without the fat of coconut milk, so I added a can of coconut water. In the end, it added a little to the soup’s sweetness but very little coconut flavor. I’m leaving it in the ingredients list below, but you can substitute water or broth and a little sugar for it. Without it, the recipe uses ordinary pantry ingredients, except for the pumpkin–if you don’t have one leftover from Halloween as I did, you will have to buy one. This soup just wouldn’t be the same with canned pumpkin.
Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Soup
This recipe takes longer to cook on the front end than the back end. Allow about an hour and a half for the pumpkin to roast and more time for it to cool enough to handle. I roasted the pumpkin and garlic in the morning and made the soup later in the day, but you could do the roasting one day and the soup making the next.
1 3-4 pound pumpkin
1 head garlic, top 1/2-inch trimmed
canola oil spray
3-4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups coconut water (or water plus a little sugar)
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons good, mild curry powder (I used Maharajah)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 – 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (optional, but makes this a main dish soup rather than a starter)
1/2 cup orange juice
toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and strings. (Set them aside if you plan to make toasted pumpkin seeds.) Cut each half in half and place skin-side up in an oiled roasting pan. Place the head of garlic in the pan and spray the pumpkin and garlic lightly with canola oil. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and put in oven.
After an hour, remove the garlic and check the pumpkin. It should be approaching tender but will probably need more time. Check again after 15 minutes. When the pumpkin is completely soft and the flesh is beginning to come away from the skin, remove from the oven and allow it to cool.
Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape it from the skin into a food processor (discard any bits that look charred). Squeeze the roasted garlic from its paper and add to the processor. Add about 1 cup of vegetable broth and puree until completely smooth.
Pour the pureed pumpkin into a large pot and add 2 cups of vegetable broth and all remaining ingredients, except the orange juice and pumpkin seeds. Cook over low heat for at least 1/2 hour, in order to give flavors time to develop. If the soup looks too thick, add more vegetable broth. Just before serving, add the orange juice and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Serve in bowls garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Makes 6 servings; each contains (without garnish) 169 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (6% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 36g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 571mg Sodium; 4g Fiber.