We have a few crops that are abundant here at Rabbit Hill, and pumpkin, specifically the variety Winter Luxury, is one. By late summer, the vines are growing over mossy rocks and knolls into the forest. In early October, just before the first frost, I harvest the fruit. This year it was close to 200 pounds from just six plants.
For several weeks, our dining room table is covered with squashes, pumpkins, tomatoes and apples, each waiting to cellared or preserved for winter eating.
Winter Luxury pumpkins make into superb pies, custards, soups and sides, but they don’t store well. In mid-November, I cut them up, scoop out the seeds, and roast the flesh in a 400-degree oven until soft. An extractor, equipment similar to a food mill on electric steroids, is used to remove the skins and remaining seeds. Portioned into 1-quart bags, pumpkin puree freezes well, and is quite versatile in the kitchen.
The recipe for Thai Pumpkin Bisque is a delightfully different and savory way to enjoy the nutritional benefits of pumpkin. The main seasoning, either curry powder or red curry paste, needs to be sautéed in fat to develop its full flavors.
Unless your family enjoys extremely spicy foods, use caution when first preparing this soup. Start with a small amount of seasoning, taste, add more if needed, and taste again.
Coconut milk adds smoothness and another taste dimension, while maple syrup highlights the natural sugar of the pumpkin.
THAI PUMPKIN BISQUE
- 1 tablespoon fat olive or coconut oil lard or butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste or curry powder
- 3½ cups cooked pumpkin 2 cans
- 4 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk * unsweetened
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Sea salt, to taste
- Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
- Heat the fat in a heavy soup pot. Add the chopped onion, garlic and curry paste or powder. Stir and cook until the onions start to soften and the mixture is fragrant.
- Add the cooked pumpkin and stock, mixing well. Whisk in the coconut milk and maple syrup.
- For a smooth, bisque texture, puree in a blender in small batches and return to the soup pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes.
- Taste and correct the seasonings with sea salt, curry powder and maple syrup. Ladle into hot soup plates and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.