This is my one concession to Thanksgiving.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as excited about the food as everyone elsein fact, the traditional Thanksgiving dinner just might be one of my favorite meals of the year. And, I’m sure that it will come as no surprise that I’d be happy to make whole meals for the rest of the week out of stuffing.
But, the thing is….
How to say this?
Ok, out with it then.
My family’s Thanksgiving meal is traditionally in a restaurant. Or, at least it has been for the past several years.
There are lots of reasons for this, but mainly, it’s simply that it works for us. We’re all coming from different places and have different dietary restrictions. And, this way we can all sit and relax. Which is really, I think, the point of the holiday.
The problem, of course, is that I really don’t have a stable of recipes. I do, however, have an address book filled with suggestions for Prix Fixe dinners.
And, that said, my immediate family typically does have a smaller version of the meal at some point over the weekendafter all there’s something to be said about having the left overs for days on end. So, in some ways, I get the best of both worlds. And, I’m not constrained by the traditions when I cook.
With that in mind, and following the longest introduction ever, I present you the pumpkin soup that I’ve been eating as of late. This version isn’t for you puristsfrankly, I’m a little bored with the classic combinations and find things like pumpkin and maple syrup or brown sugar or apples or you name it a little too sweet for a soup. This one’s got kick. Lots of onions, lots of chili. I’m enjoying it so much, I’m planning the left overs already.
Until the next time, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Spiced Pumpkin Soup
1 2-pound sugar pumpkin
3 TBS olive oil, divided
6-8 cups vegetable stock (recipe follows)
1 onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
2 tsps ancho chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape the center, setting the seeds aside. Brush the pumpkin with 1 TBS oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp paprika and salt. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour until the pumpkin is soft and can easily be scraped from the skin.
Once the pumpkin seeds are dry, sprinkle 1 TBS of oil on them and season with salt. Roast for approximately 30 minutes, until they are golden brown.
While the pumpkin is roasting, make the vegetable stock (recipe follows).
When the pumpkin is roasted, allow it to cool and scoop out the roasted flesh. Set it aside.
In a large dutch oven, heat 1 TBS of olive oil. Saute the onion, garlic and shallot for approximately 10 minutes on a low heat, until they start to brown. Add the pumpkin, ancho chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and a dash of salt. Cover with the vegetable broth and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste, adding salt if necessary.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. If the soup is too thick, add more water.
Garnish with pumpkin seeds.
Serves 6 as an appetizer
1 TBS olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1 bay leaf
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
8 cups cold water
1 TBS lemon juice
In a large stock pot, saute the vegetables, onion, and garlic for approximately 5 minutes on a low heat until everything starts to brown. Add in the red pepper flakes and saute for another minute. Then, add in the water, peppercorns, bay leaf and add salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour. Strain out the vegetables, add in the lemon juice and season with salt.
Makes 8 cups