Why can’t I be super productive for two days in a row? On Saturday I had a perfect day – had a really good cup of coffee (thanks to my sister for gifting me my best friend and lifesaver – a Keurig), made a great dinner and did an insane amount of unpacking. I’m talking about finding things I thought I lost, setting up systems (laundry, grocery lists, junk drawers, takeout menu drawers, stationery drawers) to keep my house in order, filing, washing…I even organized my gift wrap! I found manuals for appliances and electronics that I don’t even own! Insane. I still didn’t find my Mom’s muffin pans though so do me a favour and keep your fingers crossed.
I’m sure a lot of you do this already, but part of trying to organize my life as much as possible includes keeping spinach, pumpkin and a number of other veggies nicely chopped and stored in my freezer. When I want a quick lunch or dinner that’s still reasonably healthy, I can open my freezer and I have my pick of ingredients to add. Last week, I opted to throw together a simple comforting Pumpkin soup to ease us back into the week and to detox a bit from all the junk I’ve been eating lately. There’s nothing quite like filling your stomach up with literally only vegetables. Plus I usually feel really proud of myself 🙂
Why Pumpkin? A while back, I decided to impress everyone with my foresight and we bought a whole pumpkin to cut up and freeze so that I could use it anytime I wanted. Why did nobody warn me that cutting up an entire pumpkin is difficult and incredibly time consuming?? It did pay off though. I had an endless supply of the orange stuff for a looong time and this was my second to last ziploc bag.
Now I do like creamy soup, but for some reason, I really dislike milk in a main dish. The thought of throwing milk or cream in a meal grosses me out a little bit. Dont even get me started on poaching or cooking chicken in milk. Can you imagine the chicken milk that would be left back? Excuse me while I puke.
Ok. I’m back. So in an attempt to keep some creaminess in the soup without adding the milk, I added 1/2 a head of cauliflower. Its a double plus for me because I don’t like having just one singular veggie in a dish. I’m quite happy adding another one to the pot especially if it does double duty – creaminess and veggies!
Pumpkin, Sage & Cauliflower Cream Soup
Yield: Approximately 4 servings
3 cups pumpkin, cubed
1/2 head medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 – 3/4 tsp dried sage
3 1/2 cups water / stock
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (& more to taste)
1/2 tsp salt (& more to taste)
1 tbsp olive oil
Toasted pine nuts / pepitas (optional, for garnish)
Warm oil in a 3qt pot and add onions. Cook until translucent and add garlic. Stirring occasionally, sautee until browned. Add pumpkin, sage, salt, peppers & water/stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Ensure that pumpkin is soft and comes apart easily. Add cauliflower and cover pot. Cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Blend to complete smoothness with an immersion blender or let cool a little and transfer to blender and mix. Alternatively, you can leave some whole cauliflower florets in for a little texture.
Garnish with toasted pine nuts or pepitas. Serve hot with thick / crusty bread.
In terms of adding the creaminess, I think it was pretty successful but Rabin loved the two bits of cauliflower that somehow escaped the immersion blender of death, so it isn’t a bad idea to leave a few bits of cauliflower lounging around. Because they’ve been quite well cooked, the bits will practically fall apart in your mouth.
I used sage because I think it pairs very well with pumpkin. Both are heavy autumn flavours and when put together give off that wonderful warm and herb-y vibe that you get from meals around Thanksgiving and Christmas time. You can use another herb though – dried rosemary, dried basil or dried thyme can all work as well.
Also, I shall repeat my mantra to you for this dish – you can’t go wrong with adding more black pepper!