Absolutly Amazing Savory Pumpkin Soup

Alright, I have a confession to make. I’m exhausted. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon for the past year and a half. Maybe that has something to do with being a new parent and having a huge love affair with all things sweet. To my surprise my husband feels the same way. What? It’s not like he works two jobs. Oh wait, he does. Well I guess I can forgive him for being tired too. That being said we decided we were going to cut back on some of the calories in hopes of restoring some of our energy. What better way to do that tan going vegan on a few dishes? But what to make?

You probably already know that it is the peak of pumpkin season.  I know no surprise there. In that spirit I naturally had two one dollar pumpkins sitting on my counter, that I had no idea what to do with. Their just these little things maybe a pound worth of meat on them, so I figured I would make a dish that features these tricky little beasts. Now it had to be delicious and it had to be vegan, those were my stipulations. Now what is more delicious and filling on a cool day than a warm bowl of soup. Answer… NOTHING! sorry I got a little excited their. I love soup in the fall. In any case I found a beautiful recipe that doesn’t use any milk or heavy cream, a requirement in many, many pumpkin dishes. It did however feature chicken broth, which by the way I didn’t have.  So I used a pumpkin broth. That’s right a pumpkin broth, don’t worry it was home made and if you are making this recipe you already have the pumpkin you need to make this broth. Lucky you, and me now that I think of it. It is the same base I use to make my veggie broth and it really is amazing. That being said let me show you how to make this savory pumpkin soup.

The first thing you have to do is cut the pumpkins open and remove all the seeds and pulp.

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Now make the broth, and soften the pumpkin. So you want to fill a large soup pan a little more than half way with hot water, drop in both of your pumpkins with the stems removed upside down in the water. Add 1 tsp. paprika, 1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder, 3 tbsp. salt (or more to taste), 2 tbsp. chives, 1/2 tsp white or black pepper.  and let them simmer on medium for an hour and a half until they are super soft.

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Remove and let cool.

While cooling  dice 2 peeled white russet potatoes into small cubes.

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Do the same with 2 -3 very large carrots.

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Toss both into the broth.

Cut 3 stocks of celery into small semi circles and add to the broth.

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Add 4 tbsp. olive oil. Let the broth and veggies simmer for an hour, or until all veggies are super soft.

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While the veggies are simmering remove the meat of the pumpkin and set aside until the veggies are tender.

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Once all veggies are sufficiently tender toss in the meat of the pumpkin.  and mix it in. Now for the fun part, take the soup mix and drop by portions, as large as your blender can accommodate,  into a blender. blend until very well mixed. Place into a separate bowl until all the mixture is blended. Sorry I don’t have any pics of the blending process as I had a very sleepy 11 month old demanding my attention at the time, and who could say no to such a cute little face. Once all the soup is blended place back in a container or in the pan and serve. It is so good and you can top it however you want. Mushrooms and onions sautéed work great for this recipe.

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Now most importantly Enjoy.

Now for the simple directions

Ingredients:

2 small pumpkins (and yes ghost or white pumpkins will work in this recipe)

2 medium russet potatoes

2 large celery stocks, or 4 small ones

2 large carrots, or 4 medium ones.

1 tsp. paprika

1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder

3 tbsp. salt (or more to taste)

Directions:

Open the tops of the pumpkins  and remove the seeds and pulp, set aside the seeds for roasting if desired. Fill a large soup pot a little more than half way full with water and place the pumpkins upside down in the water to tender them. Go ahead and toss in the tops too, they have meat on them so why not. Add the spices to the water to add flavor to the pumpkin broth. Let the pumpkin and broth simmer for roughly an hour until the pumpkin has been infused into the broth and has become tender. Remove the pumpkins and let drain on a separate plate. Save the broth you will need it later. Dice the potatoes, carrots, and celery. Toss into the broth. Let simmer on medium until they are super soft.(approximately 1 and 1/2 hour.) While they are softening remove the cooled meat from the pumpkin and set aside until the broth is ready. Once all veggies are soft toss in the pumpkin meat. Then place by portions into a blender and blend until super smooth. Continue until all soup is blended. Serve and enjoy.

 

 

Mushroom Risotto

Nothing says I love you like spending a lot of time on a side dish, a lot. This dish takes about 20-30 minutes to make. Now I have never made a risotto, ever. And I have no shame in telling you it scares me more than a little. I mean this is the staple of every episode of “Master Chef” and “Hell’s Kitchen”. A staple, I might add, that everyone seems to do wrong the first time on the show and I am going to try it… YIKES. It’ okay, I may have to give myself a pep talk to get through this but we can do it.   You are willing to give me some moral support if I have a panic attack right?

Alright now that I’m done being neurotic you should know that I did actually get through making this dish, and it turned out incredible.  Honestly I had to do very little seasoning at all, this is a super simple risotto, and you and yours I am almost positive will love it, just like me and mine did. Now your traditional risotto takes arborio rice, but who has that, not me. So I used jasmine rice. Arborio rice is a short round fat rice, and jasmine rice is long thin and white, so there is a bit of a difference, but we can make it work and it really did.  So lets get this rather ambitious project started.  The first thing you will need is to heat your skillet on a medium heat for a few minutes then take a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and a tablespoon unsalted butter and drop them in the pan until they are hot and slightly bubbling.

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Once the oils are warm you will want to add in your veggies. The original recipe calls for onions, but I didn’t have that what I had was an old can of mushrooms sitting in the back of my pantry. “Eh this’ll work” and before you ask yes that was me talking to myself. So I took it out and drained the liquid from it setting it aside on the off chance I didn’t have enough chicken broth.

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You will want to take the mushrooms out of the can and rinse them off thoroughly. The reason for this is that canned veggies tend to get a metallic taste to them. By rinsing the vegetables thoroughly you get rid of that awful metal taste.

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See what I mean all that metal, yuck. Now that you have rinsed your mushrooms drop them into the skillet and stir occasionally until they start to brown and are warm all the way through.

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Once they are warm which will take about 5-8 minutes  you will want to add 1 cup of rice. You will then stir it into the oils and veggies.

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Keep stirring until the butter and oil is completely soaked into the rice. There will be a soft nutty aroma when you are ready for the next step.

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Now add 1/2 cup of a dry white wine, like the small box of chardonnay sitting in the back of your fridge.  Yes I did say box, go ahead make your jokes, but even this little boxed wine adds amazing flavor to this dish.

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Once the wine has been absorbed into the rice you will want to add another two tablespoons of butter stirring constantly to avoid burning.

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Once that is in you can start adding your chicken broth. Now you can buy chicken broth at the store it comes in a box already in liquid form, but you can also get bouillion cubes and add it to hot water. Or you can make your own chicken stock by boiling a whole chicken or chicken pieces. The alternative which I took takes a lot more effort. You have to Go to the hospital have a baby, get put on an all liquid diet for a few days where they give you several packets of powdered chicken broth, don’t use them. Forget they’re there and months later find them in your camera case of all places. Then mix them with water and use it in a risotto. I don’t recommend that method. It’s a lot more work for a risotto than necessary. However you make the broth now is the time you add it one cup at a time.

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You will want to stir constantly at this point to so that you don’t burn the rice, because it can burn very easily.

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This is what it looks like after 2 cups have soaked in. Over all this recipe takes about 3 1/2 cups of broth, or mushroom juice. I used both.

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After you have slowly added about 3 cups of broth, but before you add the last little bit you will want to add about 1 cup of Parmesan cheese.

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As you can see you can add this when you still have some moisture in your risotto.

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Mix in and add the last 1/2 cup of broth. Now you want your risotto to be al dente which means slightly firm but with a soft center. Now when it’s done the risotto will have a creamy consistency. At this point you can adjust the seasoning using some simple sea salt. I actually didn’t need to use any additional seasonings with this. It was that good.

What do you think? Not bad right?

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Now for the simple ingredients.

Ingredients:

3-4 cups of chicken stock

1 cup rice (i used jasmine rice, but arborio is the classic risotto style rice)

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus 2 more tbsp for finishing

1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)

1 8 oz can of mushrooms

1/2 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions: 

Drop the vegetable oil and 1 tbsp of the butter into a preheated skillet. Add one 8 0z can of mushrooms (make sure to rinse mushrooms thoroughly as canned veggies can get a metallic taste and you don’t want that in your dish). Once the mushrooms are slightly browned and warm all the way through add 1 cup of Jasmine rice and mix in, stirring until all the butter and oil is soaked in. Continue stirring until there is a slightly nutty aroma, once you smell this add in 1/2 cup chardonnay. Continue mixing until it is soaked into the rice. Add 2 tbsp butter. Make sure to stir constantly as you don’t want to burn the rice. Finally add in 3-4 cups of chicken broth one cup at a time. Do this slowly as you want the rice to release their natural starches Make sure the rice soaks in all the broth before adding the next cup. You will want to taste periodically to see when it is al dente. Once it is still a little firm but almost there add in your 1/2 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese to taste.  Stir in the last 1/2 cup broth and let it soak in. Serve immediately.

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