Thursday, July 26, 2007

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon Toast

I love soups. You may have noticed. Usually I just through a bunch of vegetables in a pot, boil it, puree and eat. This time I decided to focus the veggie a bit and add a little depth to the meal. I got the idea to serve the creamy pumpkin soup with cinnamon toast from a recipe on allrecipes and I decided it was just crazy enough to work.

Prepare Soup:-Peel and cube a bunch of pumpkin, maybe 3 cups worth. I find that peeling a pumpkin with a peeler is not fun and so I just used a knife and sliced off the rind. Alternatively, you could steam/boil the pumpkin for about 10 minutes and then the peel comes off easily. Also remove the seeds (but don't throw them away!)-Dice about half an onion. It doesn't matter the size of the pieces as you will be boiling and pureeing them
-Optional: get a hot pepper. I find that the pepper doesn't detract from the taste and gives it a nice kick. I used 1 habanero and that was just fine.
-Ready (soy) milk, cornflour, bay leaf, salt, oil or butter, some crushed garlic, cheese, and any other spice you like
-Lightly fry the garlic and onion in butter or oil for about 5 minutes, or until onion is tender in a decent-sized pot-Throw in the pumpkin for about a minute or two, letting it coat itself in oily goodness-Add water: the level should be a bit short of the height of the pumpkin (the pumpkin condenses as you cook it and you don't want the soup too watery... as long as you mix every 5-10 minutes then everything should cook evenly)
-Add crushed bay leaf and other spices.
-Lower heat, cover, and let simmer for an hour, mixing every 10 minutes until the pumpkin is at the level of the water
-Puree once everything is very cooked-Put back on medium heat, mixing in 1/4 cup -1/2 cup of milk and a bit of flour to thicken it up. You can also add some cheese to give it a nice creaminess (I used fresh mozzarella)
-I like to throw fresh spring onion on top, adding to it a crisp oniony flavor

Prepare Toast (2 slices):
-Preheat (toaster) oven to 400F
-Melt a tbsp of butter (more if you like a more buttery toast)
-Mix with 1/2 tbsp of brown sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (more if you like cinnamony taste)Cook:
-Toast for about 10 minutes, or until top is bubbly/browning
-I also fried up some bacon for this dinner. The salty smokiness of the bacon is really complementary with the creamy pumpkininess of the soup and the cinnamon sweetness of the bread
-You can quarter or eighth the toast and mix it in the soup
-You can fry the bacon with the onion when making the soup originally, and make it a pumpkin and bacon soup.
-Some people like this soup curry style and so add curry powder or cumin and tumeric as well as coconut milk for the milk. Others like it sweet pumpkin-pieish and so add cinnamon, nutmeg, etc

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