Saturday, June 10, 2017

Pretty fast pumpkin soup

I do have a good excuse, sort of, for not posting here as often as I intend to. My son is back at university and spends a great deal of time meticulously crafting his essays on this computer. Both of us find the big desktop much more comfortable to write on than a dinky laptop, let alone an iPad.
       Anyway, today he's out, so I decided it was high time to pass on my new idea for winter. Well, fairly new. I did think it up myself, but somewhere someone else (👧) has undoubtedly thought of it first. It's very simple, warming, delicious, and the most gorgeous colour. It's also really cheap to make - my little grey pumpkin was $1 at the Victoria St market. You'll find two earlier pumpkin soup posts here and here.
        For the spicy curry flavour, I used my last tablespoon of red curry paste and about half a cup of some leftover butter chicken sauce. Totally inauthentic, I know, but tidy, thrifty, and it worked perfectly. If you want to concoct your own spice mixture, go right ahead, but make sure it has a red-ish colour.

Pretty fast pumpkin soup  
(This serves four - increase quantities to get a bigger pot of soup)

1 small pumpkin, or a cut piece to give roughly the same amount of flesh
1 large or two smaller carrots
2 Tbs red curry paste (or something similar - how much you use depends on how spicy you like it)
knob of butter for frying
juice of one medium lemon or lime
half a medium tin of coconut milk
enough extra coconut milk, or milk or cream, to dilute at the end as required (you can also put a blob of plain yoghurt in each bowl after serving)
something green and finely chopped to serve on top - coriander is good, or chives, spring onion, parsley
naan bread/poppadum/lightly toasted tortillas/any other kind of bread you fancy

Using a large knife, cut the pumpkin into pieces roughly the size of your two cupped hands.
Arrange pieces in a large shallow glass or ceramic dish that will fit in your microwave.
Add half a cup of water to dish, cover, and microwave until pumpkin is semi-soft.
Let pieces cool enough to handle. Leaving the water in the dish, remove each piece, peel it and remove seeds and fibrous centre flesh. Cut any very large pieces in half.
Peel and trim the carrot(s) and cut them lengthwise, then cut into small short sticks.
Melt the butter gently in a large suacepan and gently fry whatever spices or spice paste you are using for a couple of minutes. (If it's something prepared (like my leftover butter chicken sauce) just melt the butter.)
Add the pumpkin, carrot and the water from the pumpkin dish. Add enough extra water to almost cover the vegetables.
Bring to boil, then turn heat down to a medium simmer. Cook until vegetables are soft. (Don't wander off and leave it, as I'm inclined to do - it will burn.)
Taste to see if it needs more salt. If you wish, add pepper (white pepper looks better) and/or a dash of hot sauce (like Kaitaia Fire).
Add lemon or lime juice to taste.
When it has all cooled a bit, puree with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth. If it is too thick to puree, add a little milk.
Return to saucepan, stir in the half-tin of coconut milk, reheat gently and cook for a few minutes. Check seasoning. Add enough extra coconut milk (or milk or cream) to get the texture you want, without spoiling the vibrant colour, check seasoning again and reheat gently.
Serve with green stuff to sprinkle on and yoghurt to stir in, as well as the warm bread.

I was so greedy, I didn't remember to take the photo until I'd nearly finished my bowlful. Sorry about that.

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