Appetizers, Dinner, Gluten-free, Lunch, Vegan
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Classic Pumpkin Soup

As I sit here, my apartment is uncomfortably chilled, I have a steaming cup of tea by my side, and a raw cranberry bar nuzzled up next to it. All signs are pointing to the holidays.

How did this happen? Just the other day, it was August- with swelteringly heat and bountiful farmer’s markets, long days, and hand-in-hand weekend adventures through New York City. Now, I dodge from building to building, need to dwell in my car prior to take off, and glumly swallow the fact that the sun disappears at 4:30 pm.

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If you’re succumbing to a bit of winter trepidation, like me, maybe this Classic Pumpkin Soup will nudge a smile across your face.

That up there is a beautiful Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, named for its similarity to a wheel of cheese. Isn’t it a showstopper? It looks like it should be on display, wreathed with colorful fall foliage and candles. It might seem to be too picturesque to eat…but don’t let that stop you. Get out your biggest knife and saw this baby open. According to my research, (and my taste-testing, of course) Long Island Cheese Pumpkins have moist, sugary flesh which works well in pies or soups. So when I spotted a crate of nude-skinned pumpkins sitting all coy at the last farmer’s market of 2015, I knew what I had to do.

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Now, don’t fear if you can’t find yourself a cheese pumpkin. Although I haven’t tried this soup with other kinds of pumpkin, I suspect sugar pumpkins would be a good substitute. Alternatively, a combination of roasted butternut squash and canned pumpkin might also work well, as I found the taste of the cheese pumpkin to mirror the two.

The soup is very simple to make. First, roasted the pumpkins until a fork sinks through the flesh like butter. Then, saute onion, carrots, and herbs in olive oil.

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Then, puree everything in your blender with some broth, and bam: hot, delicious soup ready to ease away sniffles and comfort you after a long workday. I’ve been having it for dinner with Pineapple Fried Rice from Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World. Seemingly strange, but actually a a spot-on combo. This soup would also be an excellent first-course to an elaborate, decadent meal, one that is perhaps coming up this week? 😉

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I hope that you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving bursting with love and laughter.

Classic Pumpkin Soup

Serves 5

Ingredients

  • 1 Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, cut in half and seeded (see note)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp herbes de provence
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp Better than Bouillon or white miso paste, optional
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste, and a pinch for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray the inside of the pumpkin with oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the flesh. Spray the baking sheet with oil, and place the cut side of the pumpkin facedown on the sheet. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a fork goes very easily through the flesh.
  2. While the pumpkin is baking, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, carrots, herbes de provence, and thyme. Sautee for 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Set aside.
  3. When the pumpkin is done, let it cool for a few minutes. Then, scoop half the flesh into a blender (see note). Also, and this is very important, pour in the sweet juices that remain on the baking sheet. Then, add the sauteed vegetables, broth, Better than Bouillon, and salt into the blender. Puree on high for 3-4 minutes, or until smooth.
  4. Feast on! A crusty piece of garlic bread would be a welcome companion.

Notes: 1) If you can’t find a cheese pumpkin, I suggest buying a sugar pumpkin. If you go that route, use the entire sugar pumpkin, instead of half, in step 3. Sugar pumpkins are smaller than cheese pumpkins. Alternatively, you may have luck roasting a butternut squash and using canned pumpkin. Try using half a butternut squash and a can of pumpkin puree. 2) I have quite a large blender. It is 64oz. If you have a smaller blender, you may want to puree half at a time. In addition, if you do not have a Vitamix or Blendtec, you may need to blend the soup for a longer time to achieve desired smoothness.

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