Because it’s time for a break from the pumpkins and cheese dips and Christmas cookies and squashes and roasts and stuffings and holiday cakes and decadent December breakfasts. Because there is never an inappropriate time to bask in the glory … Continue reading
Everything I have ever read this fall has warned against using Halloween-type pumpkins to cook with. I understand that carving pumpkins and cooking pumpkins are harvested for two distinct outcomes. Carving pumpkins, traditionally Jack-O-Lanterns or Luminas, are bred for size, external color, their tall stature, and fibrous walls to hold up to carving. Alternatively, Sugar Pies or Cinderellas make for excellent cooking pumpkins as they are bred for sweetness, internal color, and a finer grain in the “meat” of the pumpkin.
When I finally carved into a leftover decorative Halloween pumpkin to scoop out the mush & roast the seeds for a Thanksgiving week recipe, my boredom took over. I have no idea what type of pumpkin had been sitting on my table for the past month, but it was big and bright orange. Once hallowed out, it begged to not be thrown away just yet. If I didn’t know the variety of the pumpkin anyway, what could it hurt to chop it up, roast it, puree it, and just see what happened?
Turns out, with a little love and a big kick of chipotle, it wasn’t half bad!
Chipotle Pumpkin Soup with Mexican Chocolate Roasted Pepitas
adapted from Simply Recipes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, plus 1 tsp sauce
8 cups roasted pumpkin, cubed
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp lime juice
1 green onion, chopped
1 handful cilantro, chopped
Mexican Chocolate Roasted Pepitas
Grab a big stock pot, and swirl the olive oil around the bottom. Turn up the heat & get the oil nice and hot.
(Favorite trick: flick a bit of water into it. If it pops back at you, it’s ready! Don’t let it go on alone any longer, or it will start to smoke.)
Toss in the onions, minced garlic, and cumin. Stir to coat in the hot oil. Let the onions cook until they are a bit translucent.
Add in the chipotle peppers and bit of adobo sauce. Stir around and smell. You can adjust the amount of peppers to your liking, but if you’re anything like me, the spicier, the better.
Drop in the cubed pumpkin, chicken stock, oregano, and salt. Stir to combine. Let it simmer on down for about 20 minutes. Give a little love and stir a couple times to keep the pumpkin cooking evenly.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Careful with the lid, all that spicy hot hot heat makes the top want to blow right off.
Return the soup to the pot.
Add the lime juice and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Dish out the soup and top with pepitas, green onion, and cilantro. The heartiness of the soup makes a perfect soul-warming winter meal, and the healthy, low-fat, low-carb ingredients make it a perfect guilt-free post-Turkey-Day dish. And of course, the spiciness makes it a perfect compliment to a nice Oktoberfest beer. Or the other way around, I guess.
I was requested to make a very particular treat (recipe to follow) for my boss’ birthday/pre-Thanksgiving office mini-celebration, which required pepitas, aka roasted pumpkin seeds. To minimize my work week craziness & to utilize the pumpkin that I already had leftover from my Fall kitchen table decorations, which is always a messy endeavor, I scooped and rinsed and cleaned and roasted the seeds early. The dessert recipe (think wicked, wicked, dangerously chocolate-y goodness) called for simple toasted pepitas, but I can never resist a good excuse to use Cocoa Chile, which is a simple mixture of cocoa powder and ancho and chipotle chiles. The spiciness brings out the depth and richness of the dark chocolate, and the saltiness of the salt-boiled pumpkin seeds keeps these interesting!
Mexican Chocolate Roasted Pepitas
You will need:
1 carving pumpkin (any variety really)
Cocoa Chile Powder
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Scoop all the mush out from inside the pumpkin.
2. Clean all the pumpkin guts away from the seeds. This is absolutely the worst part of the whole job. It’s goopy and sticky and generally disgusting. Power through, and it’s all downhill from here!
3. Thoroughly rinse seeds to ensure all the goop is cleaned away.
4. Boil seeds in salt water for 10 minutes. For every half cup of seeds, use 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. Drain seeds and dry thoroughly.
5. Put a small amount of olive oil on a baking sheet, spread seeds out, and sprinkle with Cocoa Chile Power. Toss to coat evenly
6. Roast in oven for approximately 10 minutes. Watch carefully so you don’t over-toast the seeds!
7. Remove from oven when browned and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Add to savory pumpkin dishes or brownies. Or just serve as a sweet & salty Thanksgiving snack!
It all started with a baby butternut squash. While butternut squash can come in any form and I’m on cloud nine, I crave butternut squash soup all year long. It is the perfect winter dish in its sweet, spicy, deep, … Continue reading