Garden to Kitchen: Roasted Pumpkin & Apple Soup
The other day I decided to whip up some pumpkin puree — how hard could that be, right? Nine pumpkins and three hours later, as our stomachs grumbled impatiently, I realized I had gallons of pumpkin puree and nothing for dinner. So I looked at the puree strewn all over my kitchen, and hastily tried to throw something together. Soup was the quickest and easiest thing I could think of, and it turned out surprisingly good. (By the way, this is an excellent strategy when entertaining — starve your guests for as long as possible, so when you finally do serve them, anything you serve will taste delicious).
Anyhoo, here’s how the pumpkin soup came together…
I started with pumpkin puree. I happened to have about 4 gallons on hand, but canned puree works just fine. I put the puree into a pot with some vegetable broth, and threw in whatever produce I had on hand — in this case it was half an onion, a carrot and a green apple (all roughly chopped).
I added some dried herbs (whatever you have on hand is fine — I had oregano & sage), a garlic clove, and a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon. I let it simmer for a few minutes (not long, I had hungry mouths waiting at the table), and then I gave it a quick puree with an immersion blender.
Some soup recipes call for adding milk or cream, but I find that by pureeing the veggies you get a nice thick consistency, with no dairy necessary. If I had had more time, I might have chopped up some hazelnuts to sprinkle on top, but I needed to get this on the table stat, so it was a plain jane presentation. Good enough is good enough, especially when you’re really hungry.
Roasted Pumpkin & Apple Soup
Pumpkin Puree (recipe here, or canned is fine too) — about 2 cups Vegetable broth — about 2 -3 cups, depending on how thick you like your soup Onions Apples Carrots Garlic Herbs of your choice (I like sage, oregano or thyme with this recipe) Nutmeg & Cinnamon Salt & Pepper, to taste Hazelnuts, toasted & chopped — optional
While heating the puree and broth in a large saucepan, chop the veggies roughly. Add the veggies, garlic, herbs and spices to the puree mixture, give it a stir, and let it simmer for a while (5-20 minutes, depending on how much time you have). Using an immersion blender (a regular blender or a food processor work well too), puree the soup to your desired consistency, adding more broth if necessary. Add salt & pepper to your liking. Garnish with chopped hazelnuts. Eat. Love.
* You’ll see that I often don’t designate specific quantities and measurements in my recipes. I do this because you know better than I do how much food your family needs and what your tastes are. Cooking isn’t an exact science, anyway — it’s more of an art. (Baking is another story — it actually is science — so I include measurements for my baking recipes.) So use whatever quantity you’d like, make changes to suit your tastes, and substitute ingredients to reflect what’s fresh in the garden and what’s available in your kitchen.
** Buen Provecho: This is a beautiful saying we learned in Ecuador when we were adopting our son. There’s not a good literal translation from Spanish to English, because the loose translation — “Enjoy your meal” — doesn’t capture the full essence of the Spanish meaning. The verb “aprovechar” means to make the most of, or to receive the full benefit of something. Thus, when we say, “buen provecho,” it is offering our hope that the eater will receive the full benefits and advantages of the food we’ve prepared. And that’s my wish for my friends and family when I cook for them — that they will receive all the goodness the food offers.