As I sat a couple mornings ago in a rented kitchen-less cabin overlooking an area I’ll call “Blustery Valley”, I thought a little about what I would be making for our lunch, had I the facilities to do so. The answer quite simply would be soup. Lots of it. But without a stove in sight (and for a while, no coffee cups either), I had no choice but to dream up hypothetical bubbling vats of steamy goodness.
J & I were up for the holiday weekend to visit The Sis (my sister-in-law) and her husband (Guitar Man) in their new home of Viroqua, a pretty little town in the Driftless region of Wisconsin. Abundant in charm and amazing produce and people… and also down parkas and hunters caps and mittens.
While my home a few hours south may not be quite in “down parka” mode, the season is right there at the border of “scarf or no scarf”, which is plenty for me to cook my hypothetical soups into full-blown reality. So this week I’m embarking on a Week of Soup to celebrate the season. After all, for me and plenty of others in the Midwest this time of year, you need something to look forward to and help you thru. For me that’s part mittens, part soup.
For this first little number, I’m using one of a pair of Pumpkin Pie Pumpkins I carried home in my suitcase courtesy of The Sis & Guitar Man. Thanks, guys!
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Brown Butter Maple Pepitas
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Gluten-free, all natural, vegetarian
Special equipment: immersion blender or standing blender
For the soup
1 small pumpkin (1.5 – 2 lbs) or other winter squash (such as acorn or butternut)
2 tablespoons butter
½ medium onion, diced
1 medium tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
2 cups / 473 ml water
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
Sea salt & pepper to taste
For the Maple brown butter pepitas
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅓ cup pepitas
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 450F / 230C
Wrap base of pumpkin in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. You can remove the top and scoop out the seeds now to make removing the flesh easier later (optional). Roast for 20 – 25 mins, or until flesh is darker and pierces easily with the tip of a knife. Remove and allow to cool to handle
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, add onions and saute on medium until translucent, about 3 mins. Add chopped apples and continue to saute for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the pepitas: In small frying pan, add 2 tablespoons butter and pepitas. Keep on medium low-heat until butter melts and is lightly browned and nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and maple syrup and stir to combine. Set aside.
When your pumpkin is cool enough to handle, separate flesh from skin (and seeds if not done earlier) and add to your onion/apple mixture. Add water, ginger and salt & pepper to taste.
Place pot back on the heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to medium simmer (about 5 minutes).
Using your immersion or stand blender, blend your soup to a creamy consistency.
Serve topped with pepita mixture (reheating briefly if necessary).