This one is technically a two-parter, as I made the soup at the same time as I threw together the Xinjiang Irish stew. The stew will come later. I don’t want to confuse everyone with too many different things under one heading. The pumpkin should suffice.
Today, Shanghai surprised me on two fronts: first, it’s cool enough now that I wore a sweater when we walked up to the Sichuan place for lunch and had to crunch through a light sprinkling of fallen brown leaves on the road, and second, the sky was…pretty. There was blue in it. Seriously. Patches of blue in the Shanghai sky! Normally it’s like the skies over the Planet Krikkit. No point in looking up cos there ain’t nothing to see.
Our kitchen is tiny, long and narrow, culminating in a semi enclosed mini balcony made of glass and safety railings, which has just a simple cold water utility sink and a corner to store mops and brooms.
We’re 16 floors up and if you stand in that tiny balcony, you are surrounded on 3 sides by pretty much just glass and open windows overlooking the French Concession. Terrible if you have a fear of heights (which I don’t); wonderful for washing dishes with a view. Today was so lovely that I voluntarily sequestered myself in the kitchen, scoping out the sky as I chopped a lot of things with my really big knife.
Let me show you how to make a really easy roasted pumpkin soup in your toaster oven. I did mine at 200 degrees C for about 45 minutes to get it nice and squishy. Easy peasy.
- a small pumpkin
- a head of garlic
- some olive oil
- spices of your choice (I used an Indian mix meant for delicate fish curries but paprika and cinnamon and cumin are all good)
- some yogurt (I swirled in 1/4 cup just before serving the soup), if you want it a bit creamier.
- some bouillon of your choice (we have a little jar of not-too-salty organic chicken bouillon paste from Canada- I used a small spoonful, equivalent to maybe one cube). Veggie bouillon would be fine, as would using a basic stock instead of water.
- cut the pumpkin in half
- gut the pumpkin
- oil the pumpkin
- rub spices onto pumpkin
- roast the garlic and pumpkin
- mash the garlic and pumpkin
- add liquid until it’s a consistency you like and mash it a bit more
- swirl in a little plain yogurt, if you like it
- add a little bouillon if you feel it needs a little more flavour (it often doesn’t, actually, as the roasting spices are quite fragrant and rich)
- Let it burble for maybe five minutes on a low flame, stirring to prevent sticking.
I also separated the seeds from the guts, rinsed them, soaked them for 20 minutes in salted water, patted them dry in a towel, then dredged them lightly in a chana masala spice mix with a little olive oil, roasting them at 150 degrees for about 40 minutes after the pumpkin and garlic were done. You could just toss them in salt and oil and they’d be lovely too.
I’m going to do this one as a simple photo essay. There’s not much one can really say about roasting a pumpkin and mashing it all up into lovely soup. It’s cozy and warm and comforting.