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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Roast Pumpkin and Garlic Soup

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
First, of all sorry for the delay, I seem to have taken Ill this week. Now onto the recipes!
When it gets chilly and wet, much like last week, I think soup. Now usually I cheat and use canned organic plain pumpkin but fresh farmers market pumpkins are soon to arrive at the market and this recipe is worth the extra effort. This recipe happens to be vegan if that works for you!

1 three-to-four pound pumpkin
1 head garlic, top 1/2-inch trimmed
Canola oil spray
3-4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons good, mild curry
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 - 2 teaspoons salt
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and strings. Cut each half in half and place skin-side up in an oiled roasting pan. Place the head of garlic in the pan and spray the pumpkin and garlic lightly with canola oil. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and put in oven.

After an hour, remove the garlic and check the pumpkin. It should be approaching tender but will probably need more time. Check again after 15 minutes. When the pumpkin is completely soft and the flesh is beginning to come away from the skin, remove from the oven and allow it to cool. Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape it from the skin into a food processor (discard any bits that look charred). Squeeze the roasted garlic from its paper and add to the processor. Add about 1 cup of vegetable broth and puree until completely smooth.

Pour the pureed pumpkin into a large pot and add 2 cups of vegetable broth and all remaining ingredients, except the orange juice and pumpkin seeds. Cook over low heat for at least 1/2 hour, in order to give flavors time to develop. If the soup looks too thick, add more vegetable broth. Just before serving, add the orange juice and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Serve in bowls garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds. Makes 6 servings.