Who knew there were so many varieties of edible pumpkins? Honestly, I have never cooked with a whole pumpkin. I usually go right for the can of Libby’s 100% Pumpkin. Two weeks ago I enjoyed another class at The Seasoned Farmhouse in Clintonville, Ohio. This class was titled Tastes of Fall and that pretty much describes the foods that were prepared for us in this demo class taught by Tricia Wheeler, owner of The Seasoned Farmhouse. We had ham with Curried Apple Chutney, Beauregard Sweet Potatoes, Grilled Pear Salad, Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies….etc. Tricia had just become familiar with the peanut pumpkin so she introduced it to us. I know it looks a little creepy (see pic below) but it is delicious! It tastes mild and fresh, sort of like a cucumber with some hints of cantaloupe and sweet potato. Tricia simply boiled it, buttered and salted it and it was great. I ended up bringing home one of these beautiful designs of nature with no idea what I was going to do with it. I chopped it up and it sat in the fridge for a few days. We went out of town last week so just before we left, I put the bag of chopped peanut pumpkin in the freezer, hoping it’d freeze well and I could figure out what to do with it when I came home. We ate out for every single meal during our vacation and I ate more dessert in one week than I normally do in a month (the Disney Dining Plan does NOT let you go hungry). It was fabulous! On the plane ride home I started thinking about getting back to some healthy cooking. I began wondering how I could concoct a thai flavored pumpkin soup with my frozen peanut pumpkin. I knew I had much of what I needed….red curry paste, a can of coconut milk and some chicken broth in the pantry. I grabbed fresh ginger, limes and cilantro at the store, defrosted the chopped pumpkin and started cooking! I found some inspiration from a great cooking blog called Love & Lemons. The fresh lime juice added at the end adds a lot of brightness to the earthiness of the pumpkin and sweetness of the coconut milk. I hope you enjoy it.
Coconut Red Curry Pumpkin Soup (Serves 6-8)
4-6 cups pumpkin or butternut squash (I used 1/2 of a large peanut pumpkin which has a milder flavor than regular pumpkin, can be found at farmers’ markets)
2 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2-3 Tbsp red curry paste
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper plus more to taste
1 can coconut milk, light or regular
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp maple syrup
pinch of cayenne pepper
juice of one lime plus more for garnish
handful of chopped cilantro
*for drizzle, reserve a little coconut milk (or use plain greek yogurt) and whisk with a little lime juice.
Peel and cut pumpkin in 1-2 in cubes. Layer pumpkin on baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so or until really soft (have to play it by ear depending on type of pumpkin or squash). In soup pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, appx 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, curry paste and cumin. Cook until fragrant, appx 3 minutes. Add pumpkin and mix together with onion mixture. Let pumpkin cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add coconut milk and broth. Add maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Puree in blender until smooth (probably have to do it in batches) or use immersion blender (if using regular blender, don’t forget to leave middle part out of the top to release heat…hold a dish towel over the hole to avoid splatters). Add juice of one lime just before serving. Garnish with lime wedges, fresh cilantro, or coconut milk/greek yogurt lime drizzle.
Recipe adapted and inspired by Love & Lemons Blog