Autumn in a Bowl, Chugging Pumpkin Soup from The Tipsy Vegan by John Schlimm

Bringing humor to the kitchen, The Tipsy Vegan (Da Capo, Lifelong Press, November 2011) by John Schlimm offers post holiday party's remedies with vegan creds.

In tune with Thanksgiving, here's one of them.

The Chugging Pumpkin Soup

Straight from the rum bottle . . . I mean, pumpkin patch, this curried soup is autumn in a bowl.

1 (4 to 5-pound) pumpkin (reserve the pumpkin seeds) or 2 (14-ounce) cans pumpkin puree (plain, not the pumpkin pie puree)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
5 cups vegetable stock
1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons molasses
Finely minced zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup soy milk or other nondairy milk
1/2 cup dark rum
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups grated vegan sharp cheddar cheese, or nutritional yeast (optional)

Chugging Pumpkin Soup (2)

To prepare the pumpkin: cut the pumpkin in half through the center and scoop out the seeds and strings. Reserve the seeds.

Carefully cut away the hard peel with a paring knife—or, better, a vegetable peeler—and chop the flesh. You should have about 6 cups of pumpkin flesh.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil with the sesame oil. Add the shallots and sauté them, stirring occasionally, until they’re translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the stock, pumpkin, potato, and carrot, raise the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth, or (carefully!) puree in batches in a blender with a towel placed over the lid. Stir in the brown sugar, molasses, orange zest, and curry powder. Over low heat, stir in the soy milk, dark rum, and Tabasco Sauce. Taste carefully. Season with salt and pepper and add the nutmeg.

Serve in warmed bowls and pass the toasted pumpkin seeds and vegan cheddar cheese for sprinkling.


Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas):
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin(s) and pull as much of the strands and pulp away from them as you can. However, don’t rinse the seeds.

In a roomy bowl, stir the seeds with peanut oil or canola oil—about a half-cup of oil for every four cups of seeds. Add a nominal amount of kosher salt. Try adding a bit of thyme, oregano, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and/or cayenne pepper, if you like.

Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Spread the seeds in one layer on the sheets. Toast slowly for about an hour, checking them every 10 to 15 minutes and stirring if they’re browning unevenly.
Store the toasted seeds in tightly sealed containers lined with paper towels.

(*From the book The Tipsy Vegan, by John Schlimm.  Reprinted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2011.)

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