Thai Pumpkin Soup

I love the farmer’s market, especially in fall.  Although the excitement of summer tomatoes, corn and zucchini is over by now, the thought of shopping for pumpkins, squash, cipollini onions, and frost-kissed spinach makes me squeal with delight.  This past Saturday, as I strolled around the square, bundled enough to guard from the chilly breeze, I couldn’t stop staring at all the beautiful pumpkins.  Blue pumpkins, white pumpkins, carving pumpkins, pumpkin pie pumpkins-the list goes on!  I had to buy one.

After talking with one of the pumpkin vendors, I decided on a blue-gray pumpkin (I can’t recall the name) that was supposed to have a bright orange flesh and sweet flavor.  I waddled home with the five pound beauty, visions of pumpkin dishes running through my head.

I remembered seeing a tempting Thai pumpkin soup on Heidi’s site a while back, and, after revisiting the recipe, could not imagine a more fitting use for the morning’s purchase.  A purée of sweet, roasted pumpkin, combined with the heat of red curry paste, this soup is sure to please on a cold fall day.  For an extra treat, make sure to toast the seeds with salt and cinnamon to serve alongside.

Blue Pumpkin

 
Thai Pumpkin Soup
(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
I topped this soup with a papaya-ginger yogurt sauce and, as hinted to above, toasted pumpkin seeds.  The dish received RAVE reviews!  Also, make sure you have a sharp knife handy before attempting to cut the pumpkin into wedges.  The hefty task  took my skimpy muscles 30 minutes!
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1 large pumpkin
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
2 cans coconut milk
1 small jar Thai red curry paste (about 1/4 cup)
1 quart vegetable stock
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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
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Cut the pumpkin into small wedges and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Drizzle the pumpkin with olive oil, and sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and black pepper.  Roast until the pumpkin is fully cooked, approximately 1 hour.
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Scoop the flesh from the pumpkin and place in a large stockpot.  Add the coconut milk and curry paste.  Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat  for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.
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Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until silky smooth.  Alternatively, puree the soup in batches using a regular blender.  As always, be extremely careful not to burn yourself from the steam.  At this point, the soup is extremely thick.  Thin the mixture out with vegetable stock until your ideal texture is reached.  Adjust seasonings accordingly and serve.
 
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Enjoy.
 
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Potato Leek Soup

What has gotten into me over the past few weeks?!?  I say that I don’t particularly like potatoes, yet here I go with another potato recipe.

It’s just that I found such beautiful leeks at the farmer’s market! I couldn’t help but make potato leek soup.  When searching for soup recipes, I found that most let the leeks blend into the background.  In my opinion, the leeks should be the star of the show, with a supporting cast of potatoes.  And so, I created my own version of potato leek soup, with a few simple ingredients.

Potato Leek

Potato Leek Soup:
I serve this soup with a generous grating of Parmesan cheese, and a lightly toasted slice of French bread.

 
Ingredients:
5 large leeks
1 1/2 lbs thin-skinned potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt & pepper, to taste

Slice the leeks into half-moons, and rinse extremely well, as leeks tend to hold hidden dirt.  Scrub the potatoes, and chop into small pieces.  Set the potatoes and leeks aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the leeks, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme.  Cook until the leeks begin to soften, about 8 minutes.  Add the potatoes to the pot, along with enough water to cover the ingredients.  Cover the pot with a lid and simmer until the potatoes are soft, topping off with water as needed.

When the potatoes are fully cooked, puree the mixer with an immersion blender, or in a blender.*  (I like to leave the soup slightly chunky, as it adds an extra textural element).  Once the soup is blended to your desired texture, add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy.


*If you do use a blender, make sure to puree in batches, and cover the top with a towel.  The steam causes extra pressure, so be careful not to overfill the blender container!