Monday, October 29, 2012
On our visit to the pumpkin patch, in addition to the ones we picked for carving, we also got a small sugar pumpkin for cooking. With pumpkins so plentiful this time of year, the farmer was selling them for three dollars apiece without regard to size. So I picked a healthy four pounder.
My first thought was to make some sort of baked dessert using a pumpkin purée. But as the weather turned sour towards the evening, we wanted to have the comfort of a hot, thick soup.
We had other squash lying around as well: butternut squash and some small yellow squash. And so I settled on a savory dish with the pumpkin and made a squash-based soup. As I was also trying to ward off a cold, I added some ginger and garlic. The end result was a golden-hued, delicious soup mildly spicy from the ginger, sweet from all of the squash varieties, and tantalizing with the flavorful aroma of leeks.
Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Soup
Serves about 6
1 sugar pumpkin (4.4 lb or 2 kg whole)
1 butternut squash (2.2 lb or 1 kg whole)
8 tbsp canola oil, divided
3 leeks, greens removed, washed and chopped
2 small yellow squash, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 knob ginger, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups (9.5 dl) stock (chicken or vegetable)
3 tbsp fresh parsley leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Wash the pumpkin and the butternut squash. Slice each in half and scoop out the seeds. Scrape away the fiberous membrane. Chop into 2-3 inch pieces and place in a bowl; mix with 5 tbsp canola oil. Place cut side down on a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast the squash and pumpkin pieces for 40-50 minutes, until soft when pierced with a knife.
2. In the meantime, heat 3 remaining 3 tbsp canola oil in a large stock pot on medium-high heat. Add the leeks and sauté until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the yellow squash, carrots, ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened slightly, about 5 minutes more. Add the stock, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the squash and the carrots are cooked through, 15-20 minutes.
3. Once the pumpkin and the butternut squash are done, remove from oven and let cool slightly. Scrape the flesh from the rinds, discarding the rinds. Add the flesh to the soup, bring back to a boil and turn off from heat.
4. Strain the solids into a colander placed over a bowl, reserving the liquids. Process the solids in a food processor together with parsley. Add the pureed vegetables and the reserved liquid back to the stock pot. Bring back to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.