CSA post: Pumpkin Soup

In this Thanksgiving edition of  Ottawa Green  Cuisine, I’m sharing an easy Fall-themed soup for my final CSA-related post of the year.  Last week we received a sugar pumpkin (or pie pumpkin) in our last CSA share of the season, and I figured a soup would be perfect to warm our souls in this October chill. Love is the figurative feeling of pouring warm pumpkin soup over your heart. Ahhh!

To start off, poke a few holes in the poor little pumpkin with a fork, place in a glass casserole dish or pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for an hour or until the pumpkin is tender.

In the meantime, get your ingredients ready because there’s such an overwhelmingly long list of them. I used vegetable broth (bouillon cubes), heavy cream (called whipping cream here in Canada),  cinnamon, nutmeg, a pinch of allspice and molasses in place of maple syrup. I’ve been using molasses a lot lately in place of maple syrup. Besides saving 10-15 dollars on a can of real maple syrup, I’ve become a new fan of cooking with molasses in a lot of my autumn-themed dishes because it gives them that little extra punch it needs. I recently used it to roast sweet potatoes for a quinoa “stuffing” for Thanksgiving. When I pulled the potatoes out of the oven, it was like they were kissed with this gorgeous sweet and spicy flavour. Yay for molasses!

20151011_145856

The little team that could.

Heat about 2 cups of vegetable broth in a pot on low while the pumpkin finishes baking. Once the pumpkin is ready, here’s the fun and messy part: Slice the top off the pumpkin,  slice it in half and begin separating the pulp from the seeds. Put the seeds in a colander or strainer and rinse off any remaining pulp. Set the seeds aside for the moment. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and add to the pot of broth. Using a potato masher, mash out the pumpkin and stir as the mixture heats up. While the pumpkin is heating, add the seeds in a small skillet  and toast on low for about 5 minutes until they’ll all brown, crisp and toasty.

Returning to the pumpkin mixture, add 1/3 cup of molasses and stir. Add dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice then turn off the heat. Transfer the pumpkin mixture into a blender or food processor and place the blender in the fridge to allow it to cool.  In my experience, the heat will actually make the plastic crack if you blend it right away. I ended up destroying one of my blenders before I got my Ninja by doing this. To be on the safe side, let it cool for about 20 minutes.

Once it’s cooled, add 1/2 cup of the heavy cream, a.k.a. “whipping cream” to the blender. Blend until smooth.  Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin seeds to each bowl and serve. Voila!  Enjoy.

 

20151002_190953

Ingredients

  • 1 sugar Pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream/ Whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup Molasses, any kind
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • A dash of Cinnamon
  • A dash of Nutmeg
  • A dash of Allspice

 

Advertisements

Lentil and Sweet Potato Chili

lentilsweetpotatowordpress

I made this divine little heart-warmer sometime last month during the most brutal stretch of -30 degree weather all winter. We stayed inside, curled up under a blanket and devoured this stuff. It’s safe to say it did its job.

I decided to whip this up one afternoon when I found I had 3 bags of dried lentils to use up and a desire to have dinner completed quickly so Mark wouldn’t starve to death when he got home. I decided to make an Indian-inspired chili, rather than the typical Mexican version, and picked up some sweet potatoes to go with the lentils. The presence of garam masala, cumin, and coriander also gives this update of the vegetarian classic a boost.

You can also swap the sweet potatoes for butternut squash and pair it with kale, chick peas or black beans instead of lentils. The world is your oyster.

*1 cup dried brown lentils, cooked and drained

* 1 onion, diced

* 2 cloves garlic

* 2 sweet potatoes, roasted or cooked in the microwave and chopped into cubes

*1 cup vegetable broth

* 1 can diced or plum tomatoes

*1 tsp coriander (crushed seeds or ground)

* tbsp cumin

* 1 tsp garam masala

* 1/2 tbsp chili powder

* salt and pepper to taste

Cook the lentils according to the directions on the bag and drain. Pierce the potatoes with a fork and place them in the microwave and cook them for 10 minutes or until soft and tender. You can also roast them in the oven, which is more socially acceptable, but I had a hungry husband on his way home who skipped his lunch so I had to be quick about it.

Once the potatoes are cooked, scoop them out of their skins and chop them into bite-sized cubes or chunks. Heat the oil in the pot and add the garlic and onions. Once they’re translucent, add the vegetable broth and tomatoes and lower the heat.  Let it simmer for a few minutes and add the lentils and sweet potatoes. Add the cumin, garam masala, coriander and chili powder to taste. Keep adding the spices and stirring until it gets the desired taste: Preferably a sweet, curried spicy flavour.

This would be wonderful served with a side of Naan bread (of course we didn’t have any) or Basmati rice. Voila! Enjoy, and feel this chili warm up your soul!