You just finished celebrating Halloween. Wastehater that you are, you swapped your costumes, made new ones out of hand-me-downs, bought healthy candy, saved your small change, and had a ball decorating your front yard. You bought a real pumpkin and carved it perfectly. You might be wondering what to do with it the day after. Your waste-hating instincts will tell you above all not to throw it out!
The idea of tackling a large pumpkin can be daunting, but using its vitamin-filled flesh is not all that difficult. The objective is to make a purée, which you can transform into soups, cakes, pies, muffins, puddings, or a side dish.
Who needs candy when you’ve got pumpkin soup?
Let’s start with a really delicious soup, which you can make in separate steps over a couple of days (an asterisk marks the end of a step). The measurements are not precise as they depend on the size of your pumpkin.
Wash the pumpkin and cut it up into manageable chunks, leaving the skin on. Put them on a greased baking sheet and bake for about an hour at 375°F, or until the flesh is soft. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off. Put through the blender in batches to obtain the purée. Do not add any seasoning yet, only a little water if too dry. Put aside.*
In a small pan, simmer together very gently until wilted, about 10 minutes:
1 Tbs. butter
I onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
Put in blender and add:
4-6 cups pumpkin purée
1 to 1½ cups vegetable or chicken stock (can be bouillon cubes)
1 tsp. powdered ginger
½ tsp. curry
No salt yet!
Process on medium to high until well blended. You may need to work with two or more batches. Put aside.*
In a large pot, make a roux:
3 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
Over very low heat melt the butter and add the flour. Stirring occasionally, allow the flour to brown slowly for about 10 minutes.
Add and simmer over low heat for about ½ hour:
3-4 cups vegetable or chicken stock.
Add the saved purée and adjust the seasoning. Now is the time to add salt and pepper if necessary, but be careful. The soup will pick up flavor as it simmers. Simmer covered for about an hour, skimming occasionally if necessary. If it is too runny, remove the cover. If too thick, add a little stock, skimmed milk, or water. You could even put in a dash of white wine. Serve hot with some papitas (roasted pumpkin seeds) sprinkled on top, or very cold with a blob of sour cream.
PAPITAS (Roasted Pumpkin Seeds)
Wash seeds and dry, removing as much flesh and fibers as possible. Spread on a greased baking tin and sprinkle very lightly with salt. Bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes.