curried coconut pumpkin soup

In my neck of the woods, it’s a little less autumn and a little more spring. The days are still bright and warm, the mornings are chilly, and there’s light all over the place in my house. My new house is empty, mind you, as our furniture and household goods haven’t arrived with the movers yet. But boy, is there a ton of light. In our last apartment we suffered under putrid flourescent bulbs and with minimum windows, but in this place we have thirteen — count ’em THIRTEEN — windows and I am in heaven. Not only does this make for a happy Erin, but for some much improved photography. There’s only so much I can do with poor lighting, and I hope that these newer photos redeem my previous attempts. But in all honesty, I can’t do much to make this soup not taste good, even if I had poor lighting or bad composition skills. This soup, my friends, makes up for the non-fall that’s happening here in west Texas. It’s been bringing September-October-November straight to my taste buds for a few lunches now and I’m totally okay with that.

Today’s Thanksgiving-esque recipe is another starter, but unlike our zesty salad from yesterday is characterized by warmer flavors of pumpkin and spice. This is definitely not a classic recipe for those expecting tried-and-true dishes like stuffing and gravy. This is an exotic, Indian-inspired soup that combines the heat of garam masala and the sweetness of coconut milk for a hearty, warming soup just right for starting off the big day.

I love anything pumpkin, but in my recent foray into sugar-free I’ve had to avoid those delicious pumpkin spice treats in every bakery in favor of something more savory. I’ve taken a few other orange squashes and turned them into salads and breakfast hashes, and I’ve made more than my fair share of unsweetened pumpkin pie smoothies to curb the cravings. I have designs to roast and puree my own pumpkin some day, plus there’s a recipe for a healthy pumpkin panna cotta/souffle dessert in the works. But for now it’s just as enjoyable to stay within the savory realm of pumpkin.

Curried Coconut Pumpkin Soup

1 Tbsp. butter

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

2-4 c. chicken broth

1 small can of pumpkin puree (or about half of one of the larger cans)

½ can full-fat coconut milk

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 Tbsp. garam masala

a few dashes of coconut aminos

s+p to taste

In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, sauté onions in butter until soft and translucent. Add carrots and cook, adding a spoonful of chicken broth here and there to keep everything soft and warm. Stir in spices. Once the veggies are cooked through, pour the whole lot into a blender (I used my Blendtec) with extra broth if necessary and pulse until liquefied. Pour back into Dutch oven over low heat.

Stir pumpkin puree into the veggie-broth mixture and add more broth until the consistency is right. It should be easy to stir but not too liquidy-soupy, as the coconut milk will add more moisture.

Add in more curry powder and garam masala. I did this by feel and by taste, so my measurements above are simply guesses. More garam masala will make the soup spicier, and more curry will add warmth, but the key is to continue to add a salt medium in relation to your spices – otherwise the soup will taste dusty along with spicy.

This is where the coconut aminos (like soy sauce, but made with fermented coconut) come in. Add a couple of dashes and then adjust to taste.

The coconut milk should be stirred in last, while the soup is warm enough to melt the coconut oil solids but not so hot that it turns into a watery mess. The principle is the same as when cream is stirred into soup at the very end.

Ideally, this soup should be served in tiny, hollowed-out sugar pumpkins for maximum aesthetic appeal. But when in doubt – and when in Texas, where I can’t find pumpkins – a classic orange Le Creuset will work. Garnish with fresh herbs or toasted pumpkin seeds, or serve with sweet cornbread or warm naan. To make a complete meal out of this, serve over rice or cauliflower “rice” seasoned with coconut aminos. Can’t you just imagine little orange dollops of this spicy soup on a pretty table, set with old china and candles and fall foliage and bittersweet berries?

A feast for the eyes and for the belly!

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P.S. Today marks our six month wedding anniversary — happy day to my love, and thanks for putting a ring on it! xo

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