Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Pan-Fried Carrot Strips

Halloween has always been celebrated in a big way in Ireland, where I come from. When I was growing up it was more about dressing up, spooking each other, playing games such as apple bobbing rather than today’s popular ‘trick or treating’. Irish folklore has strong links with Halloween, which is said to be linked with the Irish end-of-harvest festival, Samhain – a time when the door to the Otherworld was believed to open enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings such as harmful spirits and fairies, to come into our world. People took steps to try and ward off these harmful demons, which are thought to have influenced today’s Halloween customs, such as dressing up, carving pumpkins into lanterns etc. As well as being used to light one’s way while outside on Samhain night, the carved lanterns may also have been used to represent the spirits/fairies and to protect oneself and one’s home from them.

In the 18 years I have lived in Denmark, I have seen my adopted homeland increasingly embrace the traditions of Halloween. With this, the popularity of the pumpkin has grown enormously and opened up a whole new market for producers on the fertile island of Samsø, for example. My favourite pumpkins for cooking are Butternut squash or Hokkaido and the below soup is a good way of sampling them. Happy Halloween!

Serves 4

For the soup
500g pumpkin, de-seeded and peeled
2 onions
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 sticks lemongrass
1 red chili
1 dessertspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 dessertspoon cold-pressed rapeseed oil
600ml vegetable stock
1 tin coconut milk
salt and pepper

For the topping
4 carrots
1 dessertspoon cold-pressed rapeseed oil
creme fraiche
roasted & salted pumpkin seeds

Chop the pumpkin into cubes. Peel and chop the onion. Cut the top and bottom off the lemongrass, remove the outer layers and chop the sticks finely. Remove the seeds from the chili and chop.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and sweat the onions gently for a few minutes. Add the pumpkin, crushed garlic, lemongrass, ginger and chili. Pour in the stock, cover and leave the soup to simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft.

Remove from the heat and puree the soup with a blender until smooth. Return to the heat. Add the coconut milk and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the topping, peel the carrots and slice into strips using a peeler or mandolin. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the carrot strips until crispy-ish.

Serve the soup topped with creme fraiche, fried carrot strips, coriander and salted pumpkin seeds.

I found the above recipe in the Danish food magazine ‘Sæson’, published for free by saesonforgodsmag.dk

Source for Halloween information: Wikipedia

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  1. By Pumpkin Turkey Chili | abundantnurturing on October 31, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    […] Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Pan-Fried Carrot Strips (foodytwoshoes.com) […]

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