“Like all magnificent things, it’s very simple.” Natalie Babbit, “Tuck Everlasting”
Americans do odd things with pumpkins this time of year.
Normally, I am a rather mild mannered person. But, when I pass a porch displaying a pumpkin that has been painted turquoise (turquoise!) or one that has been decoupaged with paisley fabric or covered in silver glitter, I’m a tiny bit tempted to egg that house.
Pumpkins are supposed to be orange, people! Unless they got some other way (like white, or stripey or whatever) while growing on an actual stem.
Deep, cleansing breath…
Here is a recipe that features pumpkin in all its sunshiny glory.
It is Tunisian in origin and came to the JOY Journal kitchen from that most glorious of cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. (If I could have only one cookbook, this volume would be it — it’s all soup and salad and bread, oh my.)
Of course, admiration didn’t stop me from tweaking things. My “swirl” uses raw garlic instead of cooked for an extra kick. And, my soup base omits parsnips because of an inexplicable hatred of this veggie among some members my family. Coriander was also out — same reason. I also use an actual apple instead of apple juice, which I find too sweet.
If you only try one recipe off this site, make this the one! Seriously. It’s that good.
Savory-Swirl Pumpkin Soup
For the swirl: Combine 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, the juice of one medium lemon, 2 Tablespoons dried or fresh cilantro and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Set aside to allow the flavors to blend.
In a soup pot, sauté 2 cups of chopped onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil until translucent. Add 1 cup chopped carrots and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and cook another five minutes. Add 3 cups veggie stock, one peeled/chopped apple, 1/2 cup tomato juice or V-8 (the latter is better if you have it), 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Cover, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, still covered, until carrots are fork tender.
Turn off heat and add 1 15-ounce can prepared pumpkin (not the kind with pie seasoning; you can use butternut squash purée if you live in a part of the world where canned pumpkin is not a thing). Use a blender or a blender wand (much easier) to purée the soup until smooth.
Ladle the soup into bowls (makes about 6-7 cups). Top each bowl with a teaspoon or so of the swirl. (Stir the swirl with a fork first.) If you’re artsy, use a fork to go for an actual spiral effect. Serve with hearty bread, a light salad and a smile.
A side note: I cannot imagine a better starter for a Thanksgiving meal than a small cup of this soup. Although, you may make this so many times you’ll be sick of it by then. So it goes.