For the first year in a VERY long time, I didn't carve a Jack-O-Lantern at Halloween this year. Given that my kids are finally all old enough that they've outgrown "trick or treating", and that I live in such a low-density neighborhood that we are NEVER even a blip on the radar screen of the young ghosts and princesses out looking to score candy, I was finally able to let the "holiday" (can you tell I've never really been a fan?) slip by practically unnoticed.
I say practically, because while I never forked over the dough to buy a BIG pumpkin for carving, I couldn't resist marking the season by purchasing a few cute little sugar pumpkins. One I roasted to accompany a pork tenderloin dinner, and the other I used in making this really terrific soup. If you've only ever bought pumpkins to carve scary faces into, then leave on your front stoop for your local squirrel population to devour, then you owe it to yourself to pick one up to actually cook and eat.
Fresh pumpkin is not a terribly good substitute when making pumpkin tart or pie as the flesh carries too much moisture; if that's your culinary goal, then you're better off buying a good quality canned pumpkin puree. As a roasted veg or the base of a tasty soup however, a sweet pumpkin is hard to beat. Give this simple soup a whirl and I think you'll agree. Oh….and it freezes beautifully!
Cheers – Steve
- 1 medium sugar pumpkin, about 4 pounds
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 vidalia onion, chopped
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice, divided
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Whole leaves flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, and candied pumpkin seeds as a garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 ℉. Halve the pumpkin from top to bottom and place it, cut side down, on an oiled baking sheet. Bake until the pumpkin can be easily skewered, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes. With a spoon, remove the seeds and discard. Scrape the pulp and reserve. Discard the skin.
- Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the curry and garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes until very fragrant. Add 3/4 cup of the orange juice and de-glaze, cook until reduced to a syrup. Add pumpkin and stock and simmer until the pumpkin falls apart, about 30 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes.
- In batches, puree the soup in a blender on high speed, 3 minutes per batch, until very smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean soup pot and add the cream, and the remaining 3/4 cup orange juice. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- If the soup is too thick, correct the consistency with additional water or stock. Top with fresh parsley or cilantro, and a sprinkling of candied pumpkin seeds if you have some on-hand.