I was so excited when I saw fresh pumpkin at the grocery store! I’ve been craving this sweet vegetable and waiting for it to come into its season. Lugging this huge heavy mass up the stairs to my apartment was worth it.
The name Pumpkin originated from the Greek word “large melon” which is “Pepon.” (Insert My Big Fat Greek Wedding joke here) 🙂
Native Americans used to use “isqoutm squash” (pumpkins) to make mats out of them by drying flattened strips. They also used the pumpkin for medicinal purposes.
In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies instead of the filling.
Had enough of fun facts? Time for recipes.
I almost cut my hand off trying to break into the thing, so be careful. Once the top is off, its relatively easy to cut into thick slices. Scooping out the fleshy seeds is fun (well I think it’s fun), and then I dump into a foiled baking pan with some oil, salt and pepper.
I roasted for 35-40 minutes on 375F (180C)
See that nice bruised golden color? That’s what you want. I put some of this aside as a very simple side dish for the week. Roast it with whatever spices you like: Garam Marsala OR you can make it a sweet roasted dish with brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, etc. Sea salt, pepper, and cumin work fine too.
I scooped out the rest to collect 6 cups of the pumpkin flesh for a comforting soup. I love sweet pumpkin soup, with lots of brown sugar and apples…but since I am trying to keep the calories low, I thought I’d make a more savory soup which is still incredibly flavorful. Pumpkin is so thick and creamy on its own, that heavy cream is so unnecessary. Even if I wasn’t dieting I’d say this, I promise! I use thick Greek yogurt instead.
Indian spices bring out the pumpkin flavor in a great way, so here is my version of Indian Spiced Pumpkin Soup:
- 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic
- 3 small onions, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 tbs garam marsala
- a few dashes of cinnamon and clove
- I add many pinches of cayenne, but you add however much you like
- 6 cups of roasted pumpkin flesh (please don’t use canned- it takes only 30 minutes to roast fresh pumpkin and tastes so much better)
- 5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups of 2% milk
- 1/4-1/2 cup 2% greek yogurt (however much you like)
1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
3 Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.
Pumpkin is jam-packed with Beta Carotenoids, Fiber, Potassium and Zinc. It is a powerful antioxidant, lowers risks of hypertension, boosts the immune system, and improves bone density. Knowing this helps to not feel guilty when you want a third serving of soup. : )