Sunday, February 6, 2011

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Spicy Pumpkin Soup
This makes about 2.5 quarts.

olive oil
1-2 onions, chopped
brown sugar
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
chipotle in adobo, chopped
a couple teaspoons of fresh thyme
2-3 bay leaves
2 cups vegetable stock
3-5 cups water
salt and pepper

Get some squash--butternut, acorn, carnival, whatever looks good, and in any combination--cut the squash in half, scoop out seeds and stringy guts, then place cut-side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast at 350 degrees until you can easily stick a knife through them. Let cool a few minutes, then scoop flesh from the skin. You'll need about five cups for this soup, which is maybe equivalent to 2.5 medium butternut squash. You can easily roast a whole bunch of squash, stick the flesh in a blender to make it smooth, then freeze it for later when you want to make soup (or pie or bread or whatever).

Heat oil over medium in a really big pot. Add onions, some salt, and some brown sugar, maybe a tablespoon. Cook for a while, stirring a lot, lower the heat if you have to so they don't burn. I get impatient and can't wait for the onions to caramelize, but you can try.

Add celery, carrots, bell pepper and cook for a couple of minutes. Clear a little spot in the pan (add oil if you need to) and add the garlic to that spot and cook until you can smell it, like 30 seconds.  

Take a chiptole pepper out of its can and chop it up, add some now, along with some of the adobo from the can, and save some aside in case you want to add more heat later.
Add the squash, herbs, spice, and stock. Add enough water to make it the consistency you want. Add some salt and pepper. Let it simmer for a little while, stirring occasionally, until you can't really wait any longer. I can only wait 20-30 minutes. Remove bay leaves, and puree the soup. Add more water if it needs to be thinned out, and more chipotle and salt and pepper if needed. Top with lime, sour cream, cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds. The soup freezes really well, too!

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