A few months ago, I bought a beautiful 15 lb Musque de Provence Pumpkin from our local farmer's market, intending to use it for our New Year's Eve Pop Up Dinner that my partner (and amazing chefo) & I were organizing. Long story short is, we bought way too much in the pumpkin department and ended up not using the darn thing! I have been storing it ever since in a dark and cool spot at the bottom of my pantry (pumpkins & squash can last up to 2-3 months if stored properly!). It was pretty huge and intimidating, so I of course procrastinated on breaking it down (this is also known as laziness)... Until now!
With the first chunk, I made a Spiced Pumpkin Curry. The second chunk was used to make the soup pictured above. The third piece will be used this week to make a Pumpkin Tea Cake (I'm creating accountability for myself here!), and the fourth chunk got cut up into large cubes and chucked away in the freezer for a later date. Just wanted to give you some ideas in case you find yourself in a similar large pumpkin situation!
Now.. About the Soup!! My inspiration came from what was in my fridge, combined with the fact that I may have eaten a burger the night prior after dance class and felt pretty sick in the tummy department. It made me want to cook with Japanese flavors like ginger & miso, both of which are great digestive aids. For those of you who may not know, miso is a fermented soybean paste that has the consistency of almond butter and a salty, sweet, umami taste. I can't say enough good things about miso's health benefits and its versatility - use it as a sauce for roasted veggies, an emulsifier for salad dressings, a rub for fish, or even a savory kick to desserts (think miso butter cookies). Ginger has a wonderful warming effect to help get you through those cold winter days. Aside from stimulating digestion, ginger reduces inflammation & boosts circulation, which helps to cleanse the skin down to the digestive tract.
On to the recipe!
Pumpkin tip: I find Musque de Provence to be the sweetest and juiciest variety I've seen in the markets lately, but you can use any ole pumpkin of choice like Hubbard or even Kabocha Squash. My advice would be to buy a larger pumpkin, break it down in one fowl swoop, & freeze the rest to use for another day
Miso tip: If you're in a rush or don't have the proper tools, you can skip toasting the miso and just incorporate directly into the soup based on the same timing instructed below. Toasting it just gives it a more complex and nutty flavor.
Total time: 25 min
Tools you need:
Large Stock Pot
Electric Kettle (Ideal for boiling the water to add to the soup, but not necessary)
Fine Mesh Strainer
3T Organic Sweet White Miso (I used the Miso Master brand)
2T extra virgin cold pressed Olive Oil
1 large onion, large dice (3/4 - 1 inch cubes)
2 large carrots, large dice
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (trick- using the side of a spoon to scrape of the ginger's skin is much easier than using a veggie peeler!)
1 medium Musque de Provence Pumpkin (approx 5 lbs), peeled, de-seeded, and chopped in large dice to yield about 5 cups
3T Rice Vinegar
2T Organic Tamari (you can use soy sauce, but Tamari is the gluten free version of soy sauce if GF diet is your jam)
Salt & Lemon to taste
For the miso:
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Using an off-set, spread out the miso on the silpat lined baking sheet to form a super thin layer
3. Bake for 5-7 minutes until miso begins to brown. Don't worry if the outer edges burn. Just don't use the super burnt part!
4. Set aside to cool
For the soup:
1. Place the large stockpot over medium high heat
2. Sauté onions and carrots in olive oil & a pinch of salt for 7-10 minutes, until onions turn translucent and carrots begin to soften
3. Add garlic & ginger and sauté until garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes
4. Add pumpkin (and a little more oil if needed) and sauté for about 10 minutes, until pumpkin softens up a bit
5. Add 4 cups of boiling water to the stock pot. Let entire contents come to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 20-25 min
6. Add Rice Vinegar & Tamari to soup and stir well
7. Incorporate miso by ladling a spoonful of hot soup liquid into a small bowl with the miso and let dissolve. Then incorporate mixture back into soup and remove from heat. Let cool for a few minutes.
8. Blend soup in batches, with contents reaching no more than halfway up the blender. To make sure the contents don't explode out the top, pulse the mixture a few times before beginning to purée.
9. Pass soup through a fine mesh strainer and transfer to a clean pot. Season with salt & lemon to taste (I used about two lemon wedges worth of juice and a healthy pinch of salt)
10. Serve in a nice bowl and add optional toppings of roasted Garam Masala spiced Chick Peas (recipe coming soon) & chopped chives