Sunday, October 5, 2014

Thai Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin is one of those foods that I've always thought was just ok.  I don't mind the obligatory slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, but apart from a Cooking Light recipe for delicious chocolate chip pumpkin bread, I really don't cook with pumpkin much.    This time of year, pumpkin is everywhere- in lattes at every coffee shop, in muffins at the bakery, in pasta dishes, and soups.  I've tried pumpkin soup before, and it was....ok.  Nothing that I would go out of my way to have again. One thing I've seen before and never thought it sounded good was pumpkin curry.  Not sure why, but those two things just don't seem to go together.  Well, someone probably once thought that chocolate and peanut butter didn't either, but as we all know, that is the most fantastic food combination on the planet!  Since autumn is upon us, soup weather is here (or almost here), and I have an upcoming soup potluck at work, I thought I would revisit the idea of pumpkin soup.  I wanted something different though- nothing spiced with cinnamon, or that in any way reminded me of pie.  To get some ideas, I turned to one of my favorite food websites, FoodGawker.  It's like Pinterest, only JUST for food- gorgeous pictures, and everything links back to a blog or other website where you can usually find the recipe.  FoodGawker is full of pumpkin dishes right now, so there was a lot to peruse.  I saw a number of pumpkin curry soups, but one with a Thai twist caught my attention.  Thai curry is a lot different than Indian curry, and I was curious how it would pair with the pumpkin.

As it usually happens, I reviewed several recipes, but no one recipe was "it" for me, so I took components from different ones and combined them with some of my own ideas.  The result is very  flavorful and has a nice kick to it from Thai red curry paste.  I have a totally different take on pumpkin soups now, and this is one that I will make again and again!

Thai Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup

Serves: About 4-6

1 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste or to taste- more if you like it spicier
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken)
2 cups pumpkin, canned or fresh roasted and mashed
1/2 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat oil in pot and add onions, carrots and red bell pepper.  Cook 5-7 minutes until vegetables begin to soften and most liquids have evaporated.

2.  Add garlic and ginger, cook and stir one minute.  Add curry paste and stir to incorporate.  Add broth, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are completely soft.

3.  Add pumpkin and mix in well.  Puree in batches in a blender or food processor, or in the pot with an immersion blender, until smooth.

4.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in coconut milk.

This is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day, after the ingredients have had a chance to meld together.  If you make it ahead of time, add just half of the coconut milk.  Then when you reheat it, add the rest just before serving and swirl in with a spoon, for a pretty presentation.