I love this time of year, if only because I get to make and gobble up all sorts of lovely soups. I still want to attempt a cream of celeriac, after having a cup at Bistro on Main in Lexington. (I still can't decide which I loved more, the soup, or the ganache brownie.) Soup is the ultimate comfort food. It's so warming on a cold day and it can contain just about any ingredient and be as simple or as complex as the chef feels like making.
Coconut curry pumpkin soup sounds like it would be complex, but it was fairly simple. Just like the tomato soup in the previous post, I had managed to make the soup and clean up the kitchen in just under an hour. Even better, I was able to use many ingredients I had in the cupboard, fridge and freezer. That's usually the best part of soup- a recipe is not really necessary, but can be more of a guideline. The original recipe that was my guideline and I adapted to make this soup can be found here: http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/moroccan-butternut-squash-goat-cheese-soup-wcoconut-ginger-cream-pistachios/
I hate to send anyone away from my site, but I will admit their pictures are so much better looking. Ultimately, it was the pictures that drew me in, and the soup did sound delicious, but when it came down to it, I knew I would have to make substitutions. I had a pumpkin still sitting around from Thanksgiving, including some in the freezer, so I would use that instead of butternut squash. I have found that while the flavors are different, pumpkin, butternut squash and acorn squash can be fairly interchangeable. I have lots of duck broth in the freezer, so I would have to use that instead of vegetable broth. Sadly, due to my budget, goat cheese was out of the question, but feta was on sale. I know the flavors can be very different, but it worked out well. The point I'm trying to make is this- there are a lot of recipes out there that you can make work with a little creativity. There are plenty of items that substitute well enough that you shouldn't have to go out and buy ingredients when you may already have something similar enough on hand.
Also, I love this quote- "There is nothing like soup. It is by nature eccentric: no two are ever alike, unless of course you get your soup in a can." Laurie Colwin, 'Home Cooking' (1988).
Without further ado, here is my adapted recipe.
1 small pumpkin, cut in half and roasted for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees F- or 2 cans of pumpkin
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced (I love garlic)
1 Tbsp cooking fat- I used duck fat, because it's what I had, but olive oil would work
2 cups broth- I used duck, but chicken or vegetable will work well also
1 can of coconut milk
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Crumbled feta, chopped cilantro, and chopped pistachios (or roast those pumpkin seeds and use) to top soup
Cut small pumpkin in half, remove seeds and stringy insides. Set seeds aside to roast later, if desired. Roast pumpkin in oven at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, or until very soft. While pumpkin is cooling, dice pepper and garlic. Heat cooking fat in large soup pot on medium heat. Saute pepper and garlic for 5 minutes, until soft. Add broth and let simmer for 5 minutes. Scoop pumpkin out into the pot, then add the coconut milk, and all the spices. Let simmer for 10 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. At this point you can either use an immersion blender to blend the soup, or remove from the heat and allow to cool enough to place in a blender or a food processor. If you used canned pumpkin, and don't mind the small chunks of diced veggies, you can eat it like that, but the creaminess of this blended soup is too good to pass up. Ladle into bowls and top with feta, chopped cilantro and nuts. Goes well with warm bread (what soup doesn't?)
This took just under an hour from start to finish, and made 6 servings.
Please feel free to ask me about how to make substitutions.