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CSA Cookoff: Anna Thomas's Great Pumpkin Soup

CSA Cookoff: Anna Thomas's Great Pumpkin Soup


THE CHALLENGE
This past weekend, after months of daydreaming, planning, and analyzing videos on YouTube, my neighbor threw a pig roast. It was glorious: the crisp fall air, a real sense of ritual and community, and a finger-licking main dish treated with the utmost respect. But not everyone eats meat.

THE SOLUTION
Another friend contributed this standout: Anna Thomas’s Great Pumpkin Soup, from the 2009 cookbook Love Soup. While the pig was the star of the day, this soup played a stellar supporting role—the Connie Britton to the porcine Kyle Chandler—and seems like an especially fitting recipe to share this week. All treat, no trick.

THE INGREDIENTS
Serves 10 generously

» ¾ c dried cannellini or other white beans
» 1 ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
» 1 medium pumpkin, about 4 lbs untrimmed (2 ½ lbs trimmed)
» 2 ½ Tbsp olive oil
» 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
» 8 oz leeks, white and light green parts
» 12 oz Yukon Gold potatoes
» 4-5 c veggie broth
» 12 oz chard
» ¾ c packed cilantro or fresh parsley leaves
» 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
» 1-3 Tbsp brown sugar (dark or light)
» Freshly ground black pepper
» Nutmeg to taste

THE DIRECTIONS
Bring the beans and 8 c water to a boil in a large soup pot, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for an hour or longer, until the beans are tender. Add water as needed to keep the beans covered. Once the beans are soft, add 1 tsp salt.

Meanwhile, as the beans cook, prep the pumpkin: Split it in half, scrape out the seeds and fibers, then cut into wide strips and peel off the hard skin—carefully, using a sharp knife and cutting away from you. Cut the remaining fruit into 1 ½-inch cubes for a total of about 8 cups of cubed pumpkin.

Preheat the oven to 375. Toss the pumpkin cubes with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a generous dash of salt and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for about 45 minutes, turning once or twice, until browned in spots.

Heat the remaining 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil in a nonstick skillet and sauté the chopped onion with a sprinkle of salt over medium heat until it begins to color, about 10 minutes. Wash and thinly chop the leeks, add to the onion, and continue cooking until the leeks are tender and begin to brown, another 15 minutes.

Scrub the potatoes and cut into ½-inch dice. Put them in another large soup pot with 2 c water, 4 cups veggie broth, and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 6 minutes. Wash the chard, trim the stems, chop the leaves, and add to the potatoes.

Add the cooked onion and leeks, the roasted pumpkin, and the cilantro or parsley to the potato pot and simmer for 15 minutes. The pumpkin will start to fall apart, thickening the broth. Add the cooked beans with all of their broth and taste the soup. Season with lemon juice and brown sugar, if needed, and salt. Grind in black pepper and add a pinch of nutmeg.

It’s a great pumpkin soup, Charlie Brown. Happy Halloween, y’all, and happy fall.

STILL HUNGRY? Browse the CSA Cookoff file for more HOMEGROWN recipes.

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Comment by Kirsten Madaus on October 3, 2013 at 1:10pm

Oh, yum--thanks for sharing, I've added it to my Squash pinterest board for when I've got some greens to go in it.

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