Pumpkin Soup Curries Flavor – I Mean – Favor

I will not lie: I love pumpkin. In bread, in muffins, in ravioli. In stuffing, biscuits and of course, pie. But one of my favorite ways to use pumpkin is in a hearty yet tender soup perfect for these wintry evenings. Curried Pumpkin Soup is not only tasty, it’s quick and simple. Six ingredients and 30 minutes, along with a hunk of lusty crusty bread and a simple salad, gets you a perfect weeknight meal.

Curried Pumpkin Soup
2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
Your favorite curry blend, to taste (I use about 2 tbsp of Penzey’s Curry blend)
1/2 cup peanut butter, preferably the all-natural, unsweetened kind
2 cups pumpkin purée
32 ounces chicken broth or vegetable broth

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and cook over medium heat, fairly gently, until the onions are soft – about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and peanut butter. Stir for a minute or so to soften the peanut butter and mix the curry powder with the oil and onions.

Gradually add the broth, whisking as you add it, to break up the peanut butter if it is lumpy. Add the pumpkin and whisk until the soup is smooth.
Heat through until piping hot.

Serve with your favorite bread. Garnish the soup with a little chopped parsley and/or a sprinkling of roasted pumpkin seeds.




Indian-inspired Quick Dinner

Mr. Dewey woke up with the beginnings of a cold.  I’ve had a stuffy head for a week or more, and have just felt wrung out.  It seemed some warm, head-clearing, blood-cleaning spices were in order.  I often will make a slow cooker chicken and lentil dish with Buryani paste, tomatoes, onions, and a few other seasonings.  I like to cook the lentils separately in the rice cooker, with lots of cumin, cilantro, and ginger in the lentils, and the other seasonings in the chicken.

I didn’t have everything on hand that I needed for that dinner, so I just started pulling stuff from the fridge.  Here’s what I ended up with:

2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 Leek, trimmed of tough ends, chopped, rinsed and well drained
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 -10 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 Tbsp Coriander Chutney*
1 tsp Ginger, minced
1/4 cup creme fraiche, buttermilk, yogurt, or 1/2 and 1/2
1-2 tsp honey**

Sauté the leeks and onions in olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté another minute.  Add curry powder and chicken; sauté another 5 minutes.  Add about 1 cup of water, the coriander chutney and ginger; cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, another 5 to 10 minutes.  At the end, stir in the creme fraiche or whatever dairy you have on hand.  Serve.  We ate it just like that, but it would also be good over rice or lentils, or even with boiled potatoes.

**I used creme fraiche because I had some on hand and needed to use it up.  Only after I had stirred it in did I realize that I had sweetened it with honey when I served it with breakfast the week before.  Yikes!  Turns out, it was perfect.  The sweetness from the honey perfectly balanced the slight bitter edge from the curry powder.  It was really good!  So, if I make it again and use some other dairy, I will remember to add honey.

Swad Coriander Chutney

* I am in love with Swad Coriander Chutney.  I found it at the local Kroger and keep at least two jars of  it on hand at all times.  I could eat the stuff with a spoon!

This meal was delicious, healthy, quick, and did the trick of opening up stuffed heads and warming us up from top to bottom.