One of the nice things about being a locavore, or a mostly-locavore (mocavore?), like me, is that you did all sorts of prep work back at the harvest and now you get to reap the benefits. People tend to think that eating locally in the Northeast in winter is all about deprivation; this hearty pumpkin soup is anything but. I keep diced organic pumpkin, chopped local garlic and tablespoon-sized portions of tomato paste in the freezer; all I have to do is chop an onion and this recipe goes into the pot in 5 minutes. This filling and satisfying soup, served with a crusty hearth bread and a local Chardonnay, is a meal.
Adapted from The Great Little Pumpkin Cookbook, by Michael Krondl
Pumpkin & Chickpea Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves (or about 2 tbsp chopped, frozen garlic), minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 lbs (about 5-6 cups) pumpkin, peeled, seeded, chopped into 1-inch dice (fresh or frozen)
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), or two 15-oz cans, drained & rinsed
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- salt & white pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro (fresh or frozen) or flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tsp harissa, or a few dashes Tabasco or other chile pepper sauce
- roasted, spiced chickpeas, chopped parsley, or grated hard cheese for garnish (optional)
- Heat oil or butter in a medium stock pot until hot; sauté onions and garlic over medium-low heat until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add cumin and sauté, stirring, for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add pumpkin and chickpeas and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the stock, tomato paste, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface, reduce heat, and simmer over low heat until the pumpkin begins to fall apart, approximately 30-45 minutes.
- Blend soup with an immersion blender, or, allow to cool slightly and transfer by batches to a blender or food processor. Stir in cilantro (or parsley) and harissa. Adjust seasonings to taste. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat until soup is thickened to your liking, stirring ocassionally.
- Serve hot, garnished with additional herbs, chickpeas, or grated cheese.
- You can blend all, some, or none of the soup; I prefer it completely blended, as it makes for a thick and creamy soup, and I don’t enjoy the texture of the boiled pumpkin chunks, but experiment to determine how you like it best.
- Local garlic will tend to dry out as the winter progresses; when I notice that a few heads are getting too dry, I will separate & peel the cloves, throw them all in the food processor, chop, and then freeze tablespoon-sized portions on a plate or cookie sheet. Once frozen, you can load them into a Ziploc for handy portions of chopped garlic. I find the flavor diminishes only slightly.
- If you can’t find pumpkins, any winter squash will do; butternut, kabocha, delicata, hubbard. Winter farmer’s markets often have winter squash available all season.
- For a purely local soup, try navy beans from Cayuga Pure Organics and use ground, dried local chile peppers for spice.
Refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 6 months.
Pumpkins are in season in fall and will last, and can be found at farmer’s markets, through the winter and into early spring.