Saturday, January 24, 2009

Curry Pumpkin Soup

The first of a two-parter today!  This soup features a pumpkin I bought from the farmer's market in what was, admittedly, a rash end-of-the-season squash binge.  Seriously, y'all.  Most of my budget for the week went to... cucurbits.  They sat around the house throughout the holidays, masquerading as festive decorations.  Little did people know:  I planned on eating every one.  

Anyway, this soup, starting with the pumpkin was kind of an all-day project.  Meet the new queen bee of my kitchen:

Ahh, the classic Rival Crock-Pot.  The solution to "I have class and work all day but I don't want to eat Goldfish when I get home!"  Mine was a Christmas gift from my grandmother, and it is already the new favorite child around here.  The wok glowers with jealousy.  

Cooking winter squash can be tricky.  First of all, you've got to get through the hard shell, and then much roasting ensues (at least, for my purposes, roasting would have ensued).  And you kind of just can't leave the house with the oven on.  But, pop it in the Crock-Pot with a couple of tablespoons of water, set it on LOW for about 8 hours, and when you get home, it will be so easy to slice.  And, your house will smell good when you walk in! 

Save the seeds for roasting!

Now, the recipe actually calls for canned pumpkin.  It would be a lot easier to use that, true.  But it is also nice to remind yourself that we can do a lot more with our fall squashes than just carve them up and let them rot:  we can make delicious, endlessly varying dishes!

Curry Pumpkin Soup
Better Homes and Gardens

2 Tbsp butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 15-oz cans pumpkin OR one small-to-medium pumpkin, roasted
2 14-oz cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup water
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat.  Throw in your onions, carrot, and celery.  Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.  It will smell very good.  Don't eat it yet.  Add the curry powder and pumpkin pie spice, and cook and stir about 1 minute more.  Add pumpkin, broth, and water.  Increase heat to medium-high; bring to boiling.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer, covered, 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In a food processor or blender, puree the mixture, about 1/3 at a time.  Return to your pan, stir in half-and-half, salt and pepper.  And that's it!  Let it cool a bit before eating.  Oh, and as with most soups, it tastes even better after it has sat a bit and the flavors have gotten all friendly with one another.  Also, it is not very curry-ey, so if you like your curry flavor front and center, add maybe a teaspoon more.

Next up:  surprise midwinter greens!!

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