I’ve found that I absolutely love creamy, pureed soups, unless of course it’s Borsht – the recipe for which is coming soon!
But other than that, I just love the process of making and, subsequently, enjoying pureed soups. Tomato, carrot, she-crab, butternut squash… I wouldn’t say no to any of them. I love the comforting and satisfying feeling they give you, but from a cook’s perspective, I also love to choose toppings. Visual satisfaction is just as important to a dish and pureed soups give you so much freedom to “dress them up”. And, not to mention, pureed soup are very forgiving in case you don’t chop your veggies evenly 🙂
Fall is one of my favorite seasons for many reasons. There is so much to do without having the heat to do it in. It’s cooler and fresher outside and the holidays are on the horizon (but not too close). One of our autumn traditions is to pick up a few pumpkins from a church down the street to carve, to decorate with, and to cook. I love prepping a lot of pumpkin puree because it makes it so much easier to make soups like this throughout the season.
It’s worth it
Prep work is one of my favorite kitchen activities. I love knowing where my food comes from, but I don’t have the opportunity to buy everything from farms. I am a supermarket shopper, which is not a popular thing to admit these days. In the future, when we have a bigger yard, I would love to grow some of our own vegetables and herbs. Maybe not in dacha volume, but some of it. However, even if you are like me and you rely on supermarket convenience or simply don’t have an option to buy farm produce directly from farms, there are things you can do to take control of what you eat. And that is prep work.
Canned, jarred, boxed, bagged – whatever the packaging is – it is very satisfying to try and get it there yourself. Of course, some things aren’t worth making at home because they would take a lot longer and probably cost more. But things like chicken stock, or, in this case, pumpkin puree, are so worth putting your time and effort in. After all, a diet based on homemade, fresh food is the best diet you can ever pick for yourself and your family, whether it’s centered around paleo, keto, or something else. Homemade is the key.
I’ve made this soup countless times. For the sake of argument, I tried making it also with a can of pumpkin puree and I did not even finish making it. It tasted watery and bland. I am sure there are ways to prepare pumpkin soup using a canned puree but this recipe is specific to a homemade one.
Making pumpkin puree
It is very easy but somewhat time consuming. I like making a lot because it lasts a long time and makes it easier in the long run.
Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
Rinse and cut a pumpkin in half. Remove the middle (seeds and strands) with a spoon.
Brush the sides with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet cut side down and bake, at 400 f, for 45 min.
After 45 min, pierce with a knife, and if easily pierced, let cool, and separate and discard the outer layer. Process the pumpkin in a food processor or blender, weigh in increments on 2 lbs and freeze/refrigerate/cook immediately/share with someone etc.
If it’s still hard-ish, cook another 15 minutes or until soft.
Pumpkin Soup with Cilantro, Pomegranate, and Orange Zest Gremolata
- Immersion blender, blender, or food processor
- 1 Tb olive oil
- 1 Tb butter
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup) Sweet or yellow
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled, rinsed, sliced
- 3/4 C chicken stock
- 2 Lbs pumpkin puree See “Technicalities” for instructions
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 C heavy cream
- cilantro leaves, roughly chopped You can use whatever greens you like!
- pomegranate berries
- orange zest
- Pre-heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a pot.
- When hot, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown around the edges and/or translucent throughout. Add garlic, and cook for a few more minutes, until aromatic.
- Add carrots, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add pumpkin puree and chicken stock, cover, and bring to boil.
- Once boiling, uncover, and cook until carrots are softened (at least 5 min).
- Remove from heat and add spices and seasoning. Let sit, covered, off heat, while you prepare the topping.
- Using an immersion blender, or food processor, puree the soup until smooth and return to the stove in the clean pot.
- Whisk in cream.
Gremolata (traditionally lemon zest + garlic + parsley)
- Chop the greens.
- Zest one side of an orange.
- Pour soup into bowl.
- Top in this order: greens, pomegranate, zest. That way even the smallest of toppings (zest) is visible in contrast with the greens and red pomegranate.