spiced pumpkin soup with pan-toasted pumpkin seeds
One of my first jobs was a seasonal gig at The Pumpkin Patch, a local produce market slash ice cream shop. (I actually got tendonitis from too much scooping. I blame the children and the cursed bubble gum flavor.)
Anyway, my best friend worked there too and we relished our free ice cream at the end of each work day. Our boss may have actually lost money while we worked there… But there were other, less fond memories of the job. For instance, bagging so many fiddleheads that I started to see giant fiddleheads, walking around carrying baskets and asking for prices while dragging their children along behind them. Oddly the children did not turn into fiddleheads, so the image was made even more peculiar. Or the outrageously good-looking senior (who of course, knew it) and my inability to properly open a bag of potatoes in his presence. And of course, when autumn came around, and with it, truckloads of pumpkins. There is just nothing graceful about grappling a massive pumpkin while arrogant, gorgeous senior smirks and fiddlehead-people look on worriedly with their human children pointing. And laughing.
Yes, pumpkins and I needed some time to heal. (I can only imagine it was just as humiliating for the pumpkin.) But heal we did. And I have come to deeply appreciate what pumpkins bring to the table. That is, the small ones, that I can carry…
1 pumpkin, seeds reserved
1 red onion
1 tbs cumin
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp maple flakes
1 tsp honey
1 tbs finely chopped almonds
2 tbs olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
½ tbs salted butter
3 cups chicken stock
mascarpone (to garnish)
Slice your pumpkin in half and set seeds aside. I like to peel my pumpkin and chop it up to roast. That way once roasted it all gets thrown into a blender and that’s that. Chop your onion and combine with chopped pumpkin in a roasting pan. In a small mixing bowl, combine cumin, crushed red pepper, maple flakes, honey, chopped almonds, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix it all together. Spoon mixture over pumpkin and onion and toss well to coat. Roast at 390°F (200°C) for 35 minutes or until pumpkin is tender when pierced with a sharp object of your choosing.
While pumpkin is roasting, rinse your reserved seeds in a small sieve. Pat them dry and heat a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Add butter to the pan. I wait until it just starts to bubble and then add my seeds. Keep tossing them ever so lovingly and cook until golden and crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring your chicken stock to a boil. Dump everything from the roasting pan, including all the juices and brown bits in a blender, and to that add your stock. Blend until smooth. Pour directly into bowls, top with a dollop of mascarpone and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds. Makes a super yummy winter lunch or you can serve it in teeny tiny little ramekins as an adorable starter for a dinner party.
Take that, Pumpkin Patch!