Pumpkin from soup to seeds

Pumpkin has to be one of the most underrated foods. Sure, it’s great for pie. Or pumpkin roll. Mmm, love that fattening stuff.

But there’s so much more.

Pumpkin seeds are an easy byproduct of jack-o-lanterns. Now they are easier than ever. You can even microwave them.

You can toast them in a traditional way. Here’s what you need, according to About.com:

 PUMPKIN SEEDS

Cooking spray, olive oil, or butter

Optional: Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, or other seasoning of choice

To prepare, rinse pumpkin seeds. Use your fingers to remove all the pulp. Drain pumpkin seeds and discard pulp. Spread out on a cookie sheet to dry overnight.

Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil, butter, or spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, or your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat.

Bake about 1 hour, tossing every 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool pumpkin seeds before eating. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 months or refrigerate up to 1 year.

If you like your toasted pumpkin seeds extra-salty, soak overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup salt to 2 cups of water. Dry an additional day, then proceed as above.

To microwave, place butter or olive oil in a microwave-safe, rectangular baking dish. Heat in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Add pumpkin seeds and toss to coat. Spread seeds out evenly in the bottom of the dish.

Microwave on high about 7 to 8 minutes or until seeds are toasted a light golden color. Be sure to stir every 2 minutes as they are cooking. (Microwave temperatures vary, so keep an eye on them and stir often.)

When done, sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, or your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat.

Cool pumpkin seeds before eating or storing. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 months or refrigerate up to 1 year.

 

Or try a skillet on the stove.

Here’s a hint: Some people posted that they prefer to boil the seeds first to soften them.

I’ve been anxious to make pumpkin soup. On our church women’s retreat at Mount Gilead, we had a delicious creamy soup. I didn’t have the exact recipe so I put out a call on Facebook.

Within a few hours, I had five choices, all very different. I’m going to try them all.

We have Pumpkin Soup on allrecipes.com, and another from allrecipes, Creamy Pumpkin Soup  with potatoes and bacon. And Pumpkin Garlic Soup from food.com . This one has white wine. Yummy.

Two other friends emailed these recipes:

 CHEF MEG’S PUMPKIN SOUP WITH TOASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium white onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

3 cups homemade or low-sodium vegetable stock

1 tablespoon reduced-sugar orange marmalade

1/4 cup lowfat evaporated milk

Place the pumpkin seeds in a small saute pan. Heat over moderate heat just until they start to toast, about 3-4 minutes. Add 1/8 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the pan and shake to coat. Remove the seeds to a plate to cool.

 Place a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Once warm, add the butter and heat until melted. Once the butter is hot, add the onions. Saute, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and cayenne pepper to the saucepan. Stir just to combine and cook for 2 minutes.

 Add the pumpkin puree and stock to the saucepan, stir, and let simmer for 8 minutes. Add the marmalade to the pan, and heat just until warmed. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or transfer in batches to a blender. Stir in the evaporated milk.

 Roughly chop the toasted spiced seeds. Ladle one cup of soup into each bowl and garnish with one-quarter  of the seeds.

 Makes 4 servings

Another friend suggested this recipe. She said her fifth grade son absolutely loves it. Maybe my husband will too. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

CREAMY PUMPKIN SOUP

¼ cup butter

1 small (1/4 cup) onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar

1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth

½ cup water

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper1 (15-ounce) can Pumpkin

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan until sizzling. Add onion, garlic and sugar; cook over medium heat until onion is softened (1 to 2 minutes). Add broth, water, salt and pepper; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, evaporated milk and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

 Transfer mixture to food processor bowl fitted with metal blade or 5-cup blender container (in batches, if necessary). Cover; process until smooth.  Return mixture to saucepan. Serve warm.

Wow, and we’re just getting started. Now I do realize if you add bacon and wine and cream, you’ll cancel out some of the good qualities of the vegetable, but sometimes you just have to make sacrifices!

Share your fall soup recipes here. Send me an email at mgouger@poconorecord.com.

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