Roasted Cinderella Pumpkin

Chef asked me to swing by the Munson Farm Stand for a Cinderella pumpkin he could roast and preserve for the winter. I LOVE pumpkin, so I was really happy he wanted to preserve some this year. I usually buy a few pie pumpkins to make my pumpkin peanut curry soup, and they’re much smaller- maybe smaller than a soccer ball. The selection of Cinderella pumpkins at Munson’s Farm Stand was impressive, and this one was larger than two of my heads put together.

Cinderella Pumpkin

Sean almost effortlessly sliced it in half. I would have needed a saw, I think.

Sliced Cinerella Pumpkin

Scooped out the seeds…

Cinderella Pumpkin ready for roasting

Drizzled olive oil on top and then some salt and pepper…

roasting Cinderella pumkin

And then they BARELY fit into our miniature oven. We live in 600 sq ft, and our kitchen appliances reflect that. But, we shoved it in there and made it work.

It roasted at 450 for more than an hour and didn’t quite come out as brown as we had hoped, but that’s sometimes what happens with miniature appliances- the end product isn’t as perfect as it could be. It still tasted great, so that’s really all that matters.

Roasted Cinderella Pumpkin

We let it cool and then scooped out A LOT of pumpkin.

Cinderella Pumpkin

Sean then pureed it in the Vitamix, poured it into jars, and processed it to save it for a wintery day. It’s truly wonderful to be married to a chef who likes to cook at home.

 

Pumpkin Peanut Curry Soup

Every autumn I have a craving for my pumpkin peanut curry soup.  I make it once or twice and then wait until pumpkins are in season the following year before making it again. Each time it comes out slightly differently depending on how much of this or that goes in it. Here’s what I did this time-

I roasted a locally grown pumpkin the size of a soccer ball at 375 for 30 minutes or so… I must admit, I totally lost track of time. I have NO idea how long that pumpkin was in there.  I’d say 30-40 minutes. I do know, however, that I cut it in half, seeded it (and saved the seeds to make Mexican Mole Roasted Pumpkin Seeds), covered the flesh in butter, and placed it cut side down into a pyrex baking dish with a cup or so of brandy.  I am sure of that part.

While the oven was preheating for the pumpkin, I toasted a cup or so of unsalted peanuts. Watch them! It’s really easy to over-toast (burn) nuts. Keep an eye on them and get them out of the oven when they’re starting to brown and smell like roasted peanuts.

But, before I even put the peanuts in the pre-heating oven, I had a thinly sliced sweet yellow onion sautéing on medium-low in some of the coconut fat skimmed from the top of an undisturbed can of coconut milk.  I let this start to caramelize while roasting the pumpkin. In the last 15 minutes or so I added a peeled, sliced apple.

So, when the peanuts were done, I put them in the Vita-Mix and made a little peanut butter.  Let’s all cheer for the power of that Vita-Mix. What a rockstar appliance. The next step is to blend all of the soft pumpkin flesh, onion, and apple with a can of coconut milk and a cup or so of water into the peanut butter.  Start on low, slowly turn it up to 10, then high, and then you’re ready to pour it into a pot and get it on the stove.

This is where the fun seasoning starts. I added a few tablespoons of soy sauce, Kecap Manis (called sweet soy sauce- it is palm sugar syrup, like molasses, but from palm), Vietnamese Sweet Lemongrass Curry (available at Savory Spice Shop), and some cayenne.  I let the soup simmer on medium for a while and added some thinly sliced kale that cooked down to be nice and tender after 20 minutes.

Just blogging about this now makes me want to eat another bowl. The creamy peanut-coconut combination is a nice compliment to pumpkin.  It brings me back to a small kitchen in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where I had my first pumpkin peanut curry soup.  Enjoy!

 

Roasted Pumpkin Peanut Curry Soup

I love pumpkins, peanuts, and curry, and, I think they combine perfectly for a hearty, healthy, flavorful soup.  I enjoy making a pumpkin peanut curry soup at least once each fall.  There is something about it that brings me back to a small cafe in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where I specifically recall tasting a pumpkin-peanut curry soup for the first time.  After the first spoonful I remember thinking I had stumbled upon a flavor gold-mine.  So, if you’re skeptical, give it a try.  Let me know what you think.
But, first things first- my recipe:
Ingredients:
  • one pie pumpkin
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts
  • peanut oil
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 3-4 TB maple syrup
  • 1-2 TB Vietnamese Sweet Lemongrass Curry (a Savory Spice Shop blend)

Start by roasting a pie pumpkin.  I like to cut them in half and drizzle them with something good, like peanut oil for this recipe.  Put the pumpkin cut-side-down in a baking dish with the peeled and quartered onions and a little water.  Roast this at 400 for 30 minutes or so until you can pierce it easily with a fork or knife.
I roasted a cup of peanuts, so it might be a good idea to spread them on a baking tray and roast them for 5-10 minutes while the oven is heating up.  As long as you’re paying attention, this way of roasting peanuts will work just fine.  However, if you’re even the least bit scatter-brained in the kitchen, you just might forget about the peanuts and they’ll burn (I’m guilty of this!).  So, you decide if you’d prefer to roast the peanuts separately at 250 until golden brown.
Then, into the Vita-Mix go the peanuts to make fresh peanut butter.  I know what some people are thinking: “But wait.  Why can’t I just use peanut butter?”  That’s fine too.  I always like to do things the long way, and ever since buying my Vita-Mix, I don’t purchase nut butters since I easily make them at home.  So, the next step is to make peanut butter.
Then, add the cooked pumpkin flesh to the vita-mix with a couple cups of water, soy sauce, maple syrup, and blend, starting on low and slowly moving up to high, until it is a smooth puree.  Add a little more water if it is too thick.

Transfer the soup to a stock pot and cook until heated through.  Add the Vietnamese Sweet Lemongrass Curry from nowhere other than Savory Spice Shop.  Mix well.

I had some cooked kale ready to go, so I gave it a coarse chop and added it to my bowl.  De-li-cious.

Pumpkin Peanut Curry Soup

Soup-er easy. Especially if you already steamed a pumpkin and carved out the flesh. I am totally put-off by canned pumpkin, so I took the extra time to slice a pie pumpkin in half, scrape out the seeds, steam it for 30 minutes or until it is falling out of the skin, and finally remove the skin. I think that is the secret ingredient to this simple recipe.
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • The cream from the top of 1 small can (5.46 oz) coconut milk, left undisturbed for at least 2 hours
  • 2 cups cooked fresh pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 2 TB Vietnamese Sweet Lemon Curry Powder
  • 2 TB Kecap Manis (found in your local Asian food market)
  • 2 cups frozen spinach (fresh would be better if you have it- chopped)
  • a pinch or more of Cayenne pepper
In a sauce pan, heat half of the coconut creme on medium high and add the onions and garlic. Saute a few minutes before adding the pumpkin, coconut “milk” or “water” and 1/2 cup water. Heat this thoroughly and transfer to a food processor to puree the base with 1 more cup of water and make it smooth.
Next, pour it back into the pot, turn the burner to medium high again, and add the peanut butter, soy sauce, curry powder, and sweet soy sauce. When it is hot and the peanut butter is evenly distributed, add the spinach and cayenne. Bring the soup close to a boil, remove from heat, and serve. I served this with coconut basmati rice and peas.
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