I had every intention of making Hungry Girl’s Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup last night. My mom has made and loves this soup, my friend Liz sent me the recipe last week talking about how amazing it is. PT had a long and ridiculous week at work, so I was going to be a good girlfriend and make him some focaccia, which is quickly becoming our favorite bread.
But there is a shortage of canned pumpkin. I guess the crop last year was much smaller than usual, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Pumpkin pie mix? Yes. Pumpkin? No. I went to Target, CVS, Strack and Van Til, and Walgreens and there was no canned pumpkin.
So I got a pumpkin! It’s pumpkin season, they are everywhere, this one cost $1.35, which is probably less than a can of pumpkin would cost me. The problem, of course, is I also needed milk, and my bike doesn’t have a lot of trunk space, so it was a slow trip home.
(See the tape recorder in there, too? I’ve got to transcribe an interview this weekend for Grocer Gram. And my Glorified Necklace! Which I take everywhere.)
I love pumpkin soup made with a pumpkin, so I wasn’t sorry to see that my easy pumpkin soup was going to have to be traded in for a much more complicated one. Because this recipe is worth it.
I made this soup a million times last fall and have perfected the recipe. It is based on the Pumpkin recipe in The Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook by Roz Denny I found at a thrift store last summer and love love love. The Pumpkin recipe, though, is a PAIN IN THE ASS. I did it exactly like how it tells me to in the cookbook only once, because getting the pumpkin flesh out without chopping up the pumpkin is only something I would do for a very special occasion. A Friday night is not that occasion.
Baking, slicing, skinning, and chopping up a pumpkin is a messy business. But I would do it again. And again. And am going to do it again and again. Because there is nothing like freshly baked pumpkin soup.
Without further ado, my pumpkin soup recipe:
Pumpkin Soup, With A Pumpkin
Serves 4 Really Hungry People
1/2 a pie pumpkin
1 onion, sliced
Oil; veggie, canola, olive, whatever you’ve got
1 14 oz can of tomatoes; diced or stewed, doesn’t matter
1 cup whole wheat pasta, any shape
2 cups veggie stock
2 cloves of garlic. diced
Vegetables; again, whatever you’ve got! Zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, carrots, celery, broccoli, corn, and any combination, totaling about 4 cups
Beans (optional) – half a can, or about a cup, add a lot to the soup
Salt, pepper, ginger to taste
1. Move your oven rack to the lowest level and preheat oven to 350. Cut off the top of your pumpkin just like you would if you were making a jack-o-lantern, and scoop out the seeds and the loose gunk. No need to clean it too much; you are slicing this baby open soon, so that will make it a lot easier.
2. Bake pumpkin with the lid on for 45 minutes. Take the top off and let it cool until you can handle it. Skin it and chop it up! I think it’s easiest to cut the pumpkin into 4ths, skin it, and then cut it into chunks. Save half of it – it will stay good in your fridge for like 2 weeks.
3. In a big soup pot, saute onion and pumpkin on medium heat in oil till onion is cooked, about 10 minutes.
4. Add veggies and cook for about 5 minutes, or longer, depending on your veggies. Stir in tomatoes, stock, pasta, beans if you so choose, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer 10 minutes.
5. Serve! Add more seasonings if necessary – this soup is great with lots of fresh ground pepper.
Last night I made it with two carrots, half a yellow squash, and the left over beans from burritos the other night. It made me wish I had pinto beans on hand because pinto beans are so good in this soup! But mine were all dried. Next time!
The focaccia turned out really well, though a little dense because of the humidity yesterday. It just made it crispier, which is always welcomed.
They kitties were waiting at the table, wondering what was taking so long for their dinners! PT hardly had the patience to let me take this picture, though, our dinner smelled so good!