Saturday, November 24, 2012

Creating Pumpkin Soup

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  This was one of my best Thanksgivings ever!  It was my first Thanksgiving in my new home (that's it above - lol!), and I was joined by my younger daughter and a couple of great friends!  One of the other great parts about it was the pumpkin soup we made. 
The recipe started out with just pumpkins, onions, garlic and vegetable broth, but we ended up adding a whole list of other ingredients on the spur of the moment, and it was Mmmmmm good!  The original recipe also called for two shiitake mushrooms, but I "just say no" to mushrooms! 
So, step one was cutting two small sugar pumpkins into 2 inch squares along with a chopped onion and a tablespoon of chopped garlic.  Put those ingredients in a bowl with 1/2 cup olive oil and toss well.  The bake at 450 for about 30 minutes or until tender.   As an alternative to baking, you can cook the pumpkins in water and use that water in your recipe in place of vegetable broth.
When they came out of the oven, we left the peels on and tossed all the ingredients into a food processor along with a couple of cups of vegetable broth.   Puree it all until it's nice and smooth, then transfer it to a pot and start cooking up the yumminess!
This is the point where we started getting creative...we added (without measuring, so have fun with this part) cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, crystallized ginger (chopped finely), brown sugar, cream, coconut cream, a touch of milk, and some salt and pepper.  Lucky for me I made yellow curry chicken last week, so I already had a few of the impromptu ingredients on hand!  Keep stirring over low heat until you're ready to eat!  (oh...add a little butter too...yum!)

To make your soup look as good as it tastes, serve it up in some pumpkin halves and sprinkle with a few toasted pumpkin seeds!
Check out All About Pumpkins for some interesting facts about pumpkins and a collection of which pumpkins are the best to use in your different pumpkin recipes.  For example, they suggest using Red uri, Kabocha or Butternut to make your pumpkin soups.  Better act fast though...pumpkin season at the stores may be ending soon!  And take a look below at how good those pumpkins are for your health...

Health benefits of Pumpkin

  • It is one of the very low calorie vegetables. 100 g fruit provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, it is rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. The vegetable is one of the food items recommended by dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
  • Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E.
  • With 7384 mg per 100 g, it is one of the vegetables in the Cucurbitaceae family featuring highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 246% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for good visual sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help a body protects against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • It is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as α, ß carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.
  • Zea-xanthinis a natural anti-oxidant which has UV (ultra-violet) rays filtering actions in the macula lutea in retina of the eyes. Thus, it helps protect from "age-related macular disease" (ARMD) in the elderly.
  • The fruit is a good source of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.
  • It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
  • Pumpkin seedsindeed are an excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for heart health. In addition, the seeds are concentrated sources of protein, minerals and health-benefiting vitamins. For instance, 100 g of pumpkin seeds provide 559 calories, 30 g of protein, 110% RDA of iron, 4987 mg of niacin (31% RDA), selenium (17% of RDA), zinc (71%)etc., but no cholesterol. Further, the seeds are an excellent source of health promoting amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to GABA in the brain.
Happy Cooking Everyone!
Jean :)
"I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion."
Henry David Thoreau 

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