Hibernating with Pumpkin Soup

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Last week, Paul and I carved my first pumpkin!  Okay, I really should say, I drew the face on the pumpkin and he carved it.  We went to the corner store by his place and paid $5 for the perfect large, round, fat pumpkin.  I know, the proper experience would have been to go to a pumpkin patch and actually pick one ourselves, however, the corner store was convenient and the pumpkin was slathered in a thick layer of dirt.  For my first time, it was close enough.  We needed some things that the corner store didn’t have so we went to the IGA supermarket down the street right after.  You won’t believe this, pumpkins were on sale there for $35! We felt so good about the deal we got that that corner store might as well have been a pumpkin patch.

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We went home, spread newspapers all over the kitchen floor and brought out the tools that we would need.  We wanted to save the goop to use to make pumpkin soup and roast the seeds to snack on.

  1. Sharpie
  2. Large plastic spoon – for scooping and scraping out the pumpkin goop (if you do it right it should come out looking like spaghetti noodles)
  3. Container to collect the goop
  4. Container to collect the seeds

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Unless you are good with a knife, it’s actually not that easy to carve a pumpkin.  The bigger the holes for the eyes, nose and mouth, the easier it to is to wield the knife.  We were pretty pleased with how it came out, I think the face was incredibly cute!

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Last night, we turned the goop into a thick, hearty soup. The days are now shorter with daylight savings giving us an extra hour last Sunday.  During the day the sun is brilliant and bright!  Until Mother Nature starts to take it away at 4 o’clock.  It’s actually quite depressing.  On a brighter note, the soup!  We used Jamie Oliver’s Glorious Roasted Pumpkin Soup and adapted it by using homemade chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, incorporated sweet potato and red potato, and added a kick with a hot sauce I got in Portland.  It was glorious indeed! It added some warmth and comfort to an otherwise dark and dreary night. This makes a large batch so we ended up with a lot more to freeze for colder nights.

Paul and I decided that we would spend the winter hibernating and cooking to cheer up the dark nights. So last weekend we went on a massive Costco run and stocked up the fridge and freezer with just about any meat or seafood you can think of.  And we got a NutriBullet!  Paul’s in tears right now while slicing shallots for a scallop dish he’s making.  Tonight is surf and turn night!  There’s also a beautiful rib eye steak right next to me marinating in a dry, spice rub, waiting to be grilled, and asparagus roasting in the oven. The kitchen smells AMAZING.  The days are going to get shorter and shorter but I can’t wait for my evenings to smell just like this.

How are you coping with the shorter days?

– SS

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Glorious Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Glorious Roasted Pumpkin Soup

What you need:
1 large pumpkin
olive oil
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
your favourite hot sauce
1 large onion
2 carrots
2 red potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
2 sticks of celery
2 litre hot chicken stock
your favourite hot sauce
Greek yoghurt, sour cream or creme fraiche (optional)

What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 340°.  Spread the pumpkin goop on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  If you are not using a pumpkin that you’ve carved, cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds (you can keep these for roasting), and chop into wedges.

2. In a pestle and mortar, grind the chilli and coriander seeds with a pinch of salt until finely ground.  Sprinkle the spices over the pumpkin with some ground black pepper.

3. Roast the pumpkin for 1 hour or until soft and carmelized on the edges.

4. Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, and potatoes.  Heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the vegetables until soft and carmelized. Add as much or as little of your favourite hot sauce.

5. When the squash is ready, add it to the pan and pour in the hot homemade (or store bought) chicken stock.  Use a hand blender or transfer into food processor to bind together.  Keep cooking it on the stove until it’s lovely and sweet, and smooth and velvety.  Season to taste.

6. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, sour cream or creme fraiche.

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