Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

For years, I have made a spicy pumpkin soup that gets its kick from a load of red pepper flakes.  This year I wanted to try a slightly different flavor profile and create something that would be more tolerable for all of my pregnant friends at a baby shower I brought the soup to. Thanks to for the idea (I did have to adjust a few of the ingredient ratios they used for it to work like I intended).  I had a little leftover, which worked great for an appetizer at a dinner party I hosted the next day.

This soup also ended up being a lot lower fat and healthier than my other go-to pumpkin soup since I didn't need to use coconut milk as the liquid base and source of flavor, just as a garnish.

Chipotle peppers give a bit more depth, smokiness, and southwestern bite than just straight "heat", unless you get a chunk of pepper in your first bite like my husband, then it may seem too hot. I'll have to use a real blender instead of a hand-blender next time. (He still ate the rest...which is impressive considering he has never been a big fan of pumpkin). If you really like heat, give it the whole pepper-I'm just warning you that they are potent.

I made it for a crowd so the listed amounts are adjusted from what I used to create a smaller batch.

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2  of 1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce), chopped
24 oz. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 cups broth
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt (if needed depending on how salty your broth is)
1 TBSP lime juice
chopped cilantro
roasted pumpkin seeds
coconut milk

Saute the onion for a few minutes in olive oil, then add garlic, pepper and cumin and cook a minute until very fragrant. Add pumpkin, broth, oregano, salt and simmer for 20 minutes on med heat, stirring often. Add lime juice and then puree soup together (my immersion/hand-blender left a few little I would recommend a real blender).  Add more broth, if needed, for desired consistency. Garnish soup with a drizzle of coconut milk, toasted pumpkin seeds, and cilantro. I had a flask of additional coconut milk available for anyone that wanted to tame down the heat a bit.

If you are feeling in the mood for a "theme" meal, you could serve it in a hollowed-out pumpkin OR a pumpkin shaped bread bowl!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rustic Cabbage Stew

I made this up one day when I felt like doing theme nights for our dinners...different types of cuisine for each night: Mexican, Italian, Japanese, American, Thai, Russian. This was for Russian night. Most Russian cabbage type soups/stews usually involve a tomato base and pickled cabbage (we'll get to that recipe later) but I took a little different route this night and liked the outcome. My brother-in-law (who lived in Russia for a while) got our leftovers last time and ate it all before my sister even got to taste it, so I believe it was a hit.

We had it with Russian rye bread (you can get some good rye at the European Market at 4700 S. and 900 E. if you live in Salt Lake area).

I didn't write the recipe down that night but recreated it today and got pretty close to my original creation. Ben said it was just as good.

I like my stews like this to have a good spicy feel (it helps accentuate the hot, comforting essence of soup) but you may wish to leave out the extra red pepper flakes and let the sausage be all the spice you use.

1/4 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 oz. hot spicy chicken or turkey or pork sausage (I just bought one link at fresh meat counter)
1 14 oz. can white beans
1/2 head of fresh cabbage, sliced
4 cup chicken broth
1-2 cup water
1/2 tsp coriander
few turns of cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Saute onion and sausage in pot until a little brown, add garlic for a minute then add everything else. Let stew (or boil) for a good 15-20 min. until cabbage is relatively soft. You may grate a little parmesan cheese on top if you are feeling sassy.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Pumpkin season has started. I usually start by doing my annual pumpkin waffle party. This year I start the pumpkin festivities by making this soup. I created it a couple yrs ago as kind of a knock-off of Zupa's seasonal pumpkin soup.

2 cloves minced fresh garlic
1/2 chopped onion
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP fresh grated ginger (or 1/2 TBSP ground ginger)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
10 oz. canned pumpkin
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1 potato (chopped into small cubes)
1 large roma tomato (or 2 little ones) chopped into small cubes1 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper
shredded coconut

In a soup pot, saute the garlic and onion with the ginger, and nutmeg in the oil until fragrant and translucent (do not brown), then add the pumpkin, broth, and coconut milk. Stir to combine, bring to a boil. Add in the potatoes and tomato and cook until the potatoes are soft (I like to precook the potatoes in the microwave to cut down on prep time). Add the salt and pepper. Toast shredded coconut lightly and top soup when serving.