With this beautiful autumn underway with its colorful leaves, a forgotten vegetable from our region, the pumpkin, will be in the spotlight of our new recipe. The pumpkin is a sort of forgotten vegetable, having only an interest as a decoration on Halloween.
This plant has become the hallmark of the Halloween party, native to the United Kingdom, including Ireland and Scotland, celebrated on October 31st as illuminated faces used as decorative lanterns. They invite children to come and collect treats from the locals on Halloween night. These decorative pumpkins are called Jack-O-lanterns. Historically, Jack-O-lanterns were made in Ireland or Scotland from the rutabaga. This vegetable was replaced by the pumpkin when emigrants, especially Irish ones, arrived in America, the region of the globe where the pumpkin originated before being introduced to the rest of the world.
For information, the pumpkin is a squash from the genus Curcubita. There are two species that are called pumpkin: Curcubita Pepo (the traditional pumpkin) and Curcubita Maxima (in French called “potiron” in France, known as winter squash in English). Both would have been domesticated at least in 5,000 BC in Mexico. The fruit was originally small with a hard rind; it was cultivated for its edible seeds. Over time, varieties with thicker flesh and less fibrous texture were developed and used for human consumption. When Jacques Cartier first visited Quebec in 1535, he found the fields of the Quebec region filled with an unknown fruit that we now call pumpkin. It was, however, the Spanish explorer Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca who saw pumpkins in Florida in 1528 and brought the first seeds to Europe, where the new fruit took some time to be generally accepted.
Eric Simard, doctor of biology and researcher, and I, the blog’s international chef, have learned a lot of interesting information about this mysterious squash. Did you know that it is a good source of beta-carotene, an orange pigment found in many vegetables and fruits? This pigment has had bad press in recent years, especially among smokers, for whom it is believed to increase the risk of lung cancer. However, for non-smokers, carotenoids reduce the risk of cancer and the risk of cancer cells spreading (metastasize). They would also have positive impacts on inflammatory processes and metabolic syndrome.
We believe that after experimenting with our brand-new recipe, your opinion of pumpkin will have changed dramatically. In addition, we have thought of making this dish complete, with a source of vegetable protein, white beans, which will make it a protein dish despite the absence of meat. Some of you might think that pumpkin soup could be tasteless and uninspiring. You will love the taste so much that you will never throw away the decorative pumpkin(s) used for the candy party again. Happy Halloween to you all, and may the pumpkin be your new healthy fall treat!
High Protein Deluxe Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients (roasted pumpkin):
-1 large pumpkin or 2 medium pumpkins
– olive oil
– Parchment or aluminum paper
– 1 tablespoon of Club House pumpkin spice blend or other
-1/2 teaspoon each, in equal parts: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice
(1 tablespoon of the house mix)
* Take note of the house spice blend suggested above; you will have enough left over to cook something else, or even add some more to this delicious soup! Remember, pumpkins that have been used as decorations can lend themselves to the occasion to reduce waste!
– 2 to 4 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil
– 1 medium onion or 2 leek whites cut into coarse slices
– 4-5 whole and peeled garlic cloves
– 2 medium carrots cut into large sections
– 1 can (15 ounces) of white beans, well rinsed and drained (about 2 cups)
– 4 1/2 to 5 cups of our oven-roasted pumpkin puree
– 4 to 6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth or water
– 2 teaspoons of kosher salt or 3 teaspoons of sea salt
– 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
– 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
– 1 teaspoon of Club House pumpkin spice, homemade spice mix, or cinnamon
– 1/2 to 3/4 cups of orange juice (optional, but highly recommended)
– 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dark maple syrup
– Pecans cut into pieces and/or peeled green pumpkin seeds (for serving)
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover your baking sheet(s) with parchment or foil paper. Cut your pumpkin(s) in half, then cut them into two or four pieces; this will possibly depend on the type of pumpkin used; place them on the baking sheet(s) when the task is completed, remembering that the bark side should be on the baking sheet, pulp side up. In a small bowl, combine olive oil with the tablespoon of your chosen spices (Club House or homemade). Using a brush, brush generously the squash pieces, after which you will cook the pumpkin for 40 minutes to 1 hour maximum, if the result is satisfactory after half an hour, that will be fine too. The flesh should be soft so that it can be easily pulled from the peel; you can do a test using a tablespoon.
2) While our Halloween gem is cooking, now is the perfect time to prepare all the ingredients that need cutting. Cut the onions or leeks, the carrots without forgetting to peel the garlic cloves. Keep your vegetable scraps for a while; you may find them useful. Open your can of white beans by draining them in a colander; don’t forget to rinse them with cold water to reduce their sodium content. If your option is to prefer water to broth, you could add your vegetable scraps to about 10 cups of water. Boil your scraps vigorously, with a little salt, for 10 to 15 minutes; or reserve this broth, leaving the pot on the heat, to let the peelings infuse.
3) Now is the time to check your squash; it may have a little resistance when you try to scrape it with a spoon, or it will be perfectly cooked. If this is the case, you will be able to take the pieces out of the oven; afterwards, you can scrape them against the peel, so as to reserve this for the soup later. In principle, your pumpkin should be well cooked; there is always the option to leave it in the oven for a few more minutes, if needed.
4) Get a large soup pot, if you have one, otherwise any large, heavy-bottomed pot will do. In olive or coconut oil, briefly sweat the onions, carrots, peeled garlic cloves, white beans, until the onion is medium brown. Season with salt and pepper, add turmeric and pumpkin spice to season the soup, stirring for a few more minutes. Subsequently, you will pour the chosen broth, without scraps or bones, over the vegetables while cooking. Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until the carrots are tender, then add the 4 to 5 cups of roasted pumpkin puree. Continue cooking for another ten minutes or so until the mash is well introduced.
5) Your soup is almost finished; you can use a hand blender or even portion it into an electric mixer. Note that it is preferable that the container of your electric mixer is made of glass. Remember to return this soup to the pot after blending. Add orange juice and maple syrup to finish. You can add a little more orange juice and water, if you find it too thick. At this point, readjust the amount of maple syrup and salt and pepper if necessary. When serving the soup in pretty bowls, add a swirl of 15% table cream, not to mention the pecans or pumpkin seeds, unless you are allergic to them. This soup can stay frozen for 4-5 months. If you decide to do so, do not add the cream, as it will not hold in the freezer. Maybe pumpkin will be your new addiction, who knows!?
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