It's that time of the year again. I absolutely adore autumn!! My biggest problem with living in San Diego is that the weather here is so incredibly temperate the whole year long, that we don't get that achingly beautiful autumn that I remember from childhood. Oh, we have it - but if you live in town you have to drive to the mountains to really experience it. It's only about an hour's drive, but that's different than walking out your door in the morning and feeling it, seeing it, smelling it. And yes, tasting it.
Autumn is winter squash time. Pumpkin time. Oranges and dark, dark greens. I had a large pumpkin sitting on my counter, threatening to rot. I do not, as a rule, let food rot. I love food too much to let it rot. So I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, put a little olive oil on it and roasted it, cut side down on a cookie sheet.
That stopped the rot. Now I had to figure out how to deal with all this pumpkin. This post is about half of it. The soup half. I've made plenty of squash soups in my life, but I don't believe I've ever made one using pumpkin. But in China I ate pumpkin made with garlic - a combo which intrigued me and which turned out to be drop-dead phenomenal. I have no idea what else went into it, but we all ate that one down in a heartbeat. Anyway, it got me to thinking about pumpkin as having much more value than just as a pie filling. So I decided to go for a soup - with an Asian flare.
Now I had to decide what I meant by an Asian flare. I decided that fish sauce and sugar - two basic ingredients in Asian cooking - were essential. And then there's lime. Since I couldn't decide between Kaffir lime leaves or lime juice, I decided to do both. I threw in a handful of leaves, and at the last minute opted for lime zest.
Chicken stock and low fat coconut milk combined to make a tasty stock. I decided not to puree the soup, but to leave some chunks of pumpkin in it. When I tasted it, it still needed something.... maybe some more salt? I scoured my pantry and spied a bottle of Ponzu. Perfect! A good splash of that and voila! A Halloween-cum-Thanksgiving pumpkin soup, perfect for guests, and rescued just in time before it was devoured by a certain new cat.....What's your favorite way to use pumpkin? I need ideas for Part II!!!
3 years ago