Are you planning a Thanksgiving menu? This week we'll be suggesting a few of the feast-worthy garden-to-table recipes from the past year:
Some people might dream of pumpkins that turn into carriages, but on chilly October nights I dream of pumpkins that turn into soups. The pumpkin mania at this time of year can go a bit far. Between pumpkin-flavored coffee drinks and pumpkin cookies, we're in the throes of full-on pumpkin overload. But a humble pumpkin soup is so warming and nutritive that it makes me forget my boredom with all of the other pumpkin treats. Paired with a crusty bread and bright green salad, it's the centerpiece of one of my favorite autumn meals.
Charleston-based photographer and regular Gardenista contributor Olivia Rae James agrees. She shared this recipe for a pumpkin soup that uses coconut milk and cayenne pepper for an unexpected twist. Nothing saccharine about this pumpkin recipe.
Photographs by Olivia Rae James.
Above: Not all pumpkins are alike. Making a delicious pumpkin soup is 90 percent about the pumpkin that you choose. Pie pumpkins, though serviceable in a pie that's filled with cream and eggs and loads of sweeteners, will likely dissappoint in a pumpkin soup. The flavor is bland and luckluster. Olivia chose the small Red Kuri pumpkin for this soup. The pumpkin has a mild, nutty flavor and smooth flesh that make it perfect for blending into soups.
Above: She coated pumpkin cubes with sea salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne for kick.
Above: Roasting the pumpkins with the seasoning helps bring out the sweet, rich flavor of the pumpkin.
Above: Next, Olivia combined the pumpkin with coconut milk and vegetable stock in a blender. If your pumpkin cools during this process, pour the mixture into a sauté pan and reheat.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- 1 small red kuri pumpkin (or any autumn squash), cubed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup coconut milk
Chop pumpkin into one-inch cubes and coat with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Roast on a baking sheet at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and slightly charred, rotating on the pan every 8 minutes or so. Transfer roasted pumpkin to a blender with vegetable stock and coconut milk and blend until smooth (watching carefully to make sure it doesn't boil over). As the liquid thickens, add mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the layered celeriac, covering completely (if it looks soupy, all the better). Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top, covering completely. Garnish with a sprig or two of thyme and bake for from 35 to 40 minutes, until the liquid is burbling and the cheese has turned richly golden-brown. Serve hot, preferably in front of a roaring fire.
For more of our favorite dinners, see our complete list of Garden-to-Table Recipes.
N.B. This is an update of a post that originally ran on October 18, 2013.