The monsoons are here, and it’s been raining like crazy especially along the west coast of India. Cities have been getting flooded as there is no little respite from the heavy rain. Its is perfect weather for soup though, if you think about it. Soups are really not my thing whether cooking them or eating them. I do have a few personal favourites though. This Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup is definitely on the list.
As I grow older, I find there are days when soups work well for me. Soups are great for warming up body and soul on cold days, and when I want something light and not so fussy. It helps that soups are generally easy to whip up. You can make larger batches and freeze them into smaller batches for later use.
Soups are especially good for days when you don’t want to cook up anything complicated. Throw a few vegetables into a pot, add stock and some seasoning, and you have a very basic soup. Then there are soups which take a little more time and my Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup is one of them.
I didn’t know this but it seems Pumpkin Soup does have a history of sorts. Pumpkin Soup is made in Haiti to celebrate their independence from French colonial rule in 1804. Their version, called Soup Jumou, is made with pumpkin/ squash, potatoes and meat. I understand that under French rule, native Haitians were considered slaves and allowed only bland food. So the Haitians, on gaining Independence, created the soup as a celebration and is typically made every year for their Independence Day.
Though Americans cook a lot of pumpkin for Thanksgiving, Pumpkin Soup was not a part of their culinary repertoire. Pumpkin Soup recipes started appearing in American cookbooks oly in the mid-1800s. Pumpkin Soup is believed to have reached the US with Haitians who fled their country after the revolution there.
Getting back to my recipe today, pumpkin is first roasted in the oven with thyme until caramelizes. The natural sweetness of pumpkin, caramelization and the flavor of thyme add up to a new level of deliciousness. I normally add a little milk to this soup.
Recently, as I have mentioned in a few other posts, we have been eating vegan. So I decided to substitute milk with coconut milk. You can use a different non-diary milk if you prefer. Let me tell you though, that coconut milk beats all other milk substitutes hands down. I usually dissolve a little cornstarch in coconut milk when I cook it to prevent it from curdling/ splitting.
For variations on pumpkin soup from different countries, see this page on Delicious for Matt Preston’s tips.
Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- 1/2 kg sweet yellow pumpkin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- A few sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic or garlic paste
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 3 cups vegetable stock or water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp crushed toasted cumin
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- Crushed black pepper to taste
- Toasted pumpkin seeds for garnishing
- Pomegranate arils for garnishing
- Pre-heat the oven to 210C (425F).
- Peel and deseed the pumpkin. Cut into cubes and toss in the olive oil. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and throw in the sprigs of thyme. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour until they’re cooked soft and lightly caramelized. Let it cool.
- Heat the other 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté the onions till soft and translucent. Add the carrots and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the stock or water and cook till the carrots are cooked very soft. Let it cool a bit.
- Remove the thyme sprigs. Blend the roasted pumpkin and the cooked onion-carrot mixture, in two batches, till smooth. Put this mixture back into the pot.
- Mix in the crushed cumin and bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in the coconut milk and stir it into the soup in the pot. Also add the oregano and black pepper. Season with more salt if necessary.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes and the soup is ready to serve. Ladle the soup into bowls or soup plates. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate arils. Serve hot with bread and a salad on the side.