I learned quite a bit about pumpkin last night as I was preparing this recipe. I’ll share all of that with you below. But first let me tell you why I decided to make this soup at all.
Every year, Laura and I make it a point to purchase a few pumpkins after Halloween. They’re always on sale after the holiday at a cost of only about $2 each. The ones we pick out are huge and really, they are such a waste to just let sit there on the windowsill forever until they begin to rot. While they do last a very long time just sitting there, all they do is stare at you, waiting to be cut open and cooked up into something nice.
Yesterday was the day for me to process one of our pumpkins. I cut it all apart and then I cut the outer skin from the flesh with a knife. I ended up with an enormous amount of pumpkin. Really, it was a lot. Two huge bowls full.
As I progressed through the soup recipe I’m going to share with you below, I learned that pumpkin, as opposed to butternut squash, has very little inherent sweetness. While it does end up with a velvety smooth texture after blending, the taste can be underwhelming. With butternut squash, things can almost stand on their own. With pumpkin, additional ingredients need to be added to make up for this deficiency.
I also learned that pumpkin is much less dense than butternut squash and it appears to have a higher liquid content as well. Because of this, pumpkin and squash can’t be interchanged in recipes such as this without an alteration of the amount of broth used.
Finally, because of the lack of sweetness, salt must be added to pumpkin soup. I know that salt is used in butternut squash soup as well, but more needs to be used with pumpkin. Think of pumpkin as a big, inexpensive ingredient that’s readily available. An empty canvas. With the proper amount of coaxing, it can be transformed into a wonderful and extraordinarily inexpensive dinner.
After working through my experience, I think I solved all of the issues. I basically changed a good portion of the recipe I originally pulled from to make mine work. My result was very good. As I sat down to eat last night, I tasted the soup and said, “Wow, this is actually pretty great.” That says it all.
Okay, so what is this soup? It’s pumpkin with coconut that’s infused with ground ginger and ground curry. Of course, the base of onion and garlic are there with some nice apple chunks and some lime juice, but really, I think the big players in this one are the pumpkin and the coconut. Oh yeah, and the maple syrup. That’s what brought everything together. The maple syrup alone brought this soup from a five to a strong nine.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
About 3 Pounds of Pumpkin, Peeled and Cut into 1-2 Inch Cubes
1 Large Sweet Onion
3 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
1 Apple, Cored and Chopped
1 Teaspoon Ground Curry
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
Ground Black Pepper
4-5 Cups (+/-) Vegetable Broth
3/4 Cup Canned Coconut Milk (Only the dense white part in the can, not the liquid)
1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Lime Jiuce
Cilantro, Chopped to Sprinkle on Top
I’d like to thank Cooking Light for the bones of this recipe. I changed quite a bit of the cooking method as well as the ingredient list, but I still pulled the initial idea from them.
Pre-Heat the Oven
Arrange one of your oven racks so it’s in the center position and then pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Prep the Ingredients
To kick things off, I first processed my pumpkin. I cut it into pieces and then carefully cut off the skin. Be warned that I doubled up on this recipe, so the quantities I’m about to show you below might seem like a lot.
Then, I chopped up the onion, the garlic and the apple.
Roast the Pumpkin
Because the pumpkin has somewhat of a higher water content than others in its class, I decided to go ahead with roasting to pieces to add a bit of brown as well as to steam off some liquid. I added the pumpkin to a large bowl and then added two tablespoons of olive oil to it. Then, I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to the bowl and tossed the pumpkin until it was well coated with the oil. After that, I spread the pieces out on a large baking sheet and placed it in the oven for 45 minutes. I knew it was done with I saw the edges of the chunks of pumpkin turn brown. Finish this step before beginning the next one. When it’s completed, turn off the heat in the oven.
Saute the Onion
Warm a large pot over medium heat and add one tablespoon of oil to it. Then, add the onion to the pot as well. Stir and cook the onion for about ten minutes or until it begins to brown. Then, add in the garlic and the apple and cook, while stirring, for about three more minutes, just to soften things up a bit and to add some flavor to things.
Next, add the pumpkin to the pot that has the onion in it and also add in the ginger and curry. Cook for five more minutes.
Simmer the Soup
This is where you’ll need to keep an eye on things. Start off by adding four cups of vegetable broth to the pot. I would say the liquid needs to just cover the vegetables. Add more if necessary. Then, raise the heat on your stove top to high until the broth begins to boil. When it does, reduce the heat to medium-low and let everything simmer for 15 minutes. The flavors should meld by the time that’s done and everything should be nice and soft.
Here’s what things look like after the broth has been simmered.
Puree the Soup
This is done most easily with a hand blender. You can use a regular blender if you don’t have one, but you’ll have to do things in batches. I’ll continue on with the hand blender instructions below.
Using a hand blender, blend the ingredients inside the pot until they are smooth and creamy. This should only take a few minutes. You’re going for a nice thick consistency. The closest thing I can think of is the consistency of applesauce. If you’re blending and the soup seems too thick, you can add broth in small quantities until it thins out slightly. I actually had the opposite problem. My soup was too thin my first go round. I had to roast more pumpkin and add it to the puree.
After that, add in the dense white part of the canned coconut milk. If you add the semi-clear part as well, the soup may thin too much. Then, add in the maple syrup and stir everything together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the overall taste, you may want to add more maple syrup as well. It’s up to you. I did all this and my soup tasted really good. Also, you can add the lime juice at this point.
Plate & Serve
Divide the soup between plates. Sprinkle some ground black pepper on top of each and then sprinkle the cilantro on top of that. Serve and enjoy.
The Final Pumpkin Soup
After some cajoling, I managed to get this one to turn out right. I never like to post anything to this site that I wouldn’t want to try again, so I made sure it worked. Now, I can make this same soup next year at the same time. If you give this recipe a try, please let me know your thoughts below. I’m always open to tips and suggestions. Thanks for reading!