Pumpkin & Potato Soup

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This was an easy soup made with the leftover pumpkin chunks from my Italian Sausage, Pumpkin and Kale soup the other day.

I turned the heat to medium low (3 out of 10 on my electric stove) and added 1 TBSP of butter. If you want a vegan soup, use olive oil. I just think butter gives it a slightly richer flavor. While the butter melted, I chopped up 1/2 of a yellow onion and tossed into the pot. I let it sweat while I peeled three small russet potatoes and cut into chunks, yielding about 2 cups or so. I already had about 2.5 cups of pumpkin chunks cut up when I chopped up a pumpkin for soup earlier in the week, but if you don’t, then peel and clean 1 small pumpkin and chop it into 1 inch pieces. You will need about 2.5 cups or so and can save the rest for something else.

You should roast the seeds with some olive oil, salt and in this case, paprika for 20-30 minutes at 320° F so you can use a handful as garnish. I already did that earlier in the week.

After 10 minutes or so, the onions had softened and were sweating beautifully. I added 1 tsp of anise seed, 1/4 tsp of cardamom, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper and let cook another 5 to 10 minutes so the heat deepens the flavor of the spices. I then added the pumpkin and potato chunks and pour in enough water to cover them with about an inch of extra water. I put the lid on and let them cook until tender.

Removing the soup from the heat, I mashed the pumpkins and potatoes and then pressed them through a chinois (a metal strainer). You can use a blender or magic bullet or immersion blender or whatever you like. I like using the chinois because it’s low-tech and unlike the blender, it lets you remove the really fibrous bits of pumpkin so you get a smoother soup with a better texture.

Like any potato soup, it is hearty and earthy, but the pumpkin adds some sweetness and the cardamom adds some real heat while the anise seeds just add a grace note like no other. It’s delicious, flavorful and very easy to make. This makes two medium bowls of soup. I sprinkled some roasted pumpkin seeds on top for a garnish and a bit of smokiness.

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