Cooler weather arrives just as prime entertaining season heats up. Those who will be hosting gatherings soon can expand their recipe repertoire. Borrowing some flavors from the season can make entertaining festive and even more flavorful.
Pumpkins and winter squashes are popular in fall, and their versatility undoubtedly contributes to that popularity. However, when chilly days require something to warm you up from the inside out, nothing can beat a soothing soup. And soup recipes can be altered to easily feed a crowd. Try this recipe for “Roasted Pumpkin Soup With Pumpkin Crisps” from “The Complete Mexican, South American & Caribbean Cookbook” (Metro Books) by Jane Milton, Jenni Fleetwood and Marina Filippeli.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup With Pumpkin Crisps
For the soup:
3 to 3 1/2 pounds pumpkin
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger root, grated
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish
For the pumpkin crisps:
Wedge of fresh pumpkin, seeded
1/2 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prick the pumpkin around the top several times with a fork. Brush the pumpkin with plenty of the oil and bake for 45 minutes or until tender. Leave until cool enough to handle. Take care when cutting the pumpkin, as there may still be a lot of hot steam inside.
When cool enough to handle, scoop out and discard the seeds. Scoop out and chop the flesh. Heat about 4 tablespoons of the remaining oil (you may not have to use all of it) in a large pan and add the onions, garlic and ginger, then cook gently for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the coriander, turmeric and cayenne, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin flesh and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes until tender.
Cool the soup slightly, then puree it in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return the soup to the rinsed out pan and season well.
Meanwhile, prepare the pumpkin crisps. Using a swivel-blade potato peeler, pare long thin strips off the wedge of pumpkin. Heat the oil in a small pan and fry the strips in batches for 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
Reheat the soup and ladle it into bowls. Top with the pumpkin crisps and garnish each portion with sesame seeds and cilantro leaves. Serves 6 to 8.