PUMPKIN CURRY SOUP
"There's a good smell of soup....pumpkin soup. The best you ever tasted," or so Helen Cooper's beloved children's story about a cat, squirrel and duck, best friends, who spend their evenings together slicing, stirring and scooping squash into a hearty meal they can slurp together on chilly autumn evenings. This soup, too with its own pipkin of salt, may truly be a soup first in its class. An east meets west divine commingling, this subtlety Indian garam masala spiced pumpkin soup makes for a slightly sweet, creamy and liquid concoction perfect for serving on a night filled with bright October moonlight. Serve with a minimally dressed salad of mesclun greens and a glass of dry Trimbach riesling and this is an under 30 minute, delightful weeknight supper worthy of sharing with last minute guests.
Maharajah, a superior grade curry powder, is a magnificently colored, full-bodied, slightly sweet curry--a little goes a long way. Not considered hot and spicy, this is an ideal curry for cooks seeking to minimize spicy heat but retain unparalleled flavor. Madras curry powder is the most common supermarket variety and works perfectly in this recipe. If time is not a factor, do use fresh pumpkin puree--the velvety texture is worth the extra step. The pumpkin puree may be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week. If a more orange soup is desired, leave out the chopped parsley in step 5 and stir the parsley in by hand after blending.
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green part only)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups fresh pumpkin puree, or 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 cups half and half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Roasted & salted cashews, chopped
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Cut a small pumpkin in half, remove pulp and seeds, and place on a quarter sheet baking pan flesh side up. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 1 hour or until tender.
- Scoop out the roasted meat and puree in a blender or Vitamix. Clean, salt and roast the seeds along side the pumpkin.
- In a 4 QUART COCOTTE over medium heat, melt the butter, add the onion and scallions and sauté until golden brown.
- Stir in 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, broth, bay leaves, sugar, parsley, curry, and nutmeg. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the bay leaves. Use an immersion blender to puree (or cool and use a food processor or blender until silky smooth-if using a Vitamix, no need to cool and the result will be the ultimate silky texture).
- Add the half and half and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the soup among the BOWLS. Add a dollop of crème fraîche to the center of each bowl. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, snip scallions over the soup.
- Pass the cashews and pepitas for crunch and garnish each bowl with a few small parsley leaves.