Spicy pumpkin soup (recipe here)
Last Saturday after a super-short trip to Michigan, I was welcomed back to LaGuardia with snow. Snow! On October 29! Of course, it was the kind of snow that hit the ground and instantly turned to slush. And I couldn’t help but think of Mirah‘s song “Make It Hot” because of the lyric “The snow falls/ The snow’s all ugly/ When it hits the street,” and also “While We Have The Sun” (“Let’s take the time to walk together while we have the sun/ You never know when temperamental weather’s gonna come”). So, I made a spicy pumpkin soup to warm up from this grossness (thankfully, it’s mostly gone now); the peppers are to “make it hot” and the base is pumpkin because the snow came right in time for Halloween. There’s also some coconut milk in there for the sweetness in Mirah’s voice and her music in general.
Loosely inspired by Mark Bittman’s pumpkin soup in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
4 cups roasted pumpkin (about 2 sugar pumpkins)***
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 pasilla pepper (or something hotter, but, let’s be honest, I don’t do so well with spice!), chopped
1 1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
4-5 cups vegetable stock
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk
Parsley for garnish (optional)
*** This was my first time roasting pumpkins, and I (stupidly) did not consult the internet beforehand to learn how to do it. Little did I know, sugar pumpkins are nearly impossible to cut through. I managed to do it very slowly and carefully, and I came out with all my fingers intact, however, I do not recommend trying it unless you plan on using a chainsaw… I later learned that you can roast them whole (!!!), and that’s what I’ll be doing with my third pumpkin, which I was too frustrated to use. Anyway, roast your pumpkins however you choose, and scoop out the flesh to use for the soup. This can be done a day or two ahead of time, and you certainly can substitute pumpkin for many other kinds of squash.
If you’re using pre-cut pumpkin or other squash: Add squash after the first step; cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until tender.
• Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your soup pot. Add carrots, celery, onions, peppers, and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cayenne, curry and turmeric and stir until spices are well combined.
• Add pumpkin, stir, and cook for about another 3 minutes.
• Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Bring down to a simmer, then add the tomatoes (with their juice). Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add coconut milk and stir. Cook for another five minutes, then take soup off the heat. Let it cool for a few minutes, then puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor. Garnish with parsley (optional).