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Who's afraid of our friend the Pumpkin?


Roasted pumpkin soup


Sometimes you have trick people into believing that they are eating something special. That's what I have to do with pumpkin. I either omit telling people it has pumpkin, or call it just "a vegetarian option" or call it something fancy like Orange roast squash with nutmeg.


I don't know whether it's just us Indians who are so afraid of pumpkin, because everywhere I see (by that I mean cookbooks, blogs and restaurants) pumpkin is nearly always a revered vegetable.  I don't understand what the problem is with this vegetable. I mean, it's sweet, it can take on so many flavours and is cheap. I've always loved my grandmother's kaddoo ki subzi (sweet and spicy pumpkin with aniseed). A great vegetarian option, it's also a very versatile vegetable.
 
But there have been three times in my life, where the pumpkin made its presence felt strongly. One was a pumpkin spice ice cream that I ate some 10 years ago. The other was a pumpkin and gorgonzola ravioli that I ate at Baci, in Delhi and the third is the Roasted pumpkin soup.

This soup is sweet, filling and creamy. And it is often one of my favourite dinners, especially if I'm home alone. If I know I'm going to be pressed for time in the evenings, I often roast the pumpkin in the morning and sauteed the chopped vegetables and refrigerate them. Come back home in the evenings and quickly whip up the rest of it.

The first time I made it, my husband refused to drink it, the second time over I called something fancier - Butternut Squash Soup with celery - he drank the whole lot.
 
Here in India, you do get a few varieties of pumpkin but other than calling it hara, laal and peela (green, red and yellow), I have no idea what is what.  So I use whatever I find in the market.



Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients
½ a small pumpkin (weighing about 400 grams)
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 small onion chopped
1 small carrot chopped
1 stalk to celery chopped
3 cups of vegetable stock  or
3 cups water and 1 vegetable stock cube

Garnish
Cream
Parsley
Croutons
Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degree centrigrade. Chop the pumpkins in crescents. You'll get about three or four slices. Throw in the garlic Drizzle with salt, pepper olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes until the pumpkin is softened. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile chop the onion, carrot and celery fine. Saute in 1/2 tsp of olive oil. Cool. Take out half the vegetables and keep aside.

In a blender add the fleshy part of the roasted pumpkin, the garlic, the vegetable and the 2 cups of vegetable stock (or 2 cups water and stock cube). Process till smooth.

Put the pureed soup back in the pan. Add another cup of stock/water. Add salt and pepper and throw in the vegetables. Simmer till hot.

Garnish with cream (optional) and parsley and croutons. Or just have it plain, dipping in your spoon.


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