Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pumpkin-celery soup: Make way, here comes the vegetable of the season

A very happy Navaratri/Dasara to all my readers celebrating the festivals. We are getting ready for our traditional doll display (Bommala koluvu) and meeting and greeting some friends over the next week. Yes, I will make sure I will get atleast some of the recipes captured on the blog this time for future reference. I really suck at making festival specials ahead of time, but am hoping to build that recipe collection over time here so you & I can come back in a few years and look up all recipes related to a festival or an event :-). Big promises, with honest intentions to fulfill them. Until then, walk with me as I make those recipes during the festivals and post them afterwards. We started off Navaratri this year on Saturday with a delicious banana sajjige. I usually start the bommala Koluvu on the 7th day or Saraswathi pooje day and then the daily offerings will follow too.

Today's post is nothing about Navaratri but a quick and easy bowl of comfort to keep you company as you try and ward off those stuffy noses and scratchy throats which comes with the change of seasons. Did I tell you I have a burst of colors in the trees all around me? last week's rains dampened them a little bit but then things perked up totally with the bright and sunny weekend we have had. I see orange, I see red, I see yellow and I see green, how does your neighborhood look?
Autumn signals the end of Farmers markets here, bye bye until next Spring but there are lot of signs for pumpkin and apple picking. Stores are already flooded with Halloween and harvest goodies and before I realize they will be replaced with year end, festive sales. I do Halloween and Navaratri decorations hand in hand, get some pumpkins and candies for the former and make Indian recipes for the latter, works well every year.
So while I was picking up some jack-o-lantern pumpkins for the front yard, I also got home some edible fresh pumpkin to cook. I have a mouth watering recipe coming up later this month (part of an event) but until then, enjoy this seasonal delicacy to send warm signals all through your system. This is a soup you will not get bored of eating again and again as the spices added make it refreshing. We have been having some soup-salad dinners lately and this is one of the family favorite soups.

Pumpkin (or any of the winter squashes) are made for soups if you ask me, they cook fast, puree smooth and have a neutral flavor bordering on sweetish, so it is easy to pair them off with different spices for variety and give the soup a new look every time. I generally use regular pumpkins or butter nut squashes in soups and flavor them with an array of spices & herbs. Celery adds a very slight sharp taste like flavored water and brings in a whole sleuth of health benefits. I usually throw in carrots to most of my vegetable soups for taste and color.
You can use store bought pumpkin puree or make it at home yourself. Peel and chop pumpkin into bite sized pieces, add 1/4 cup water and bring to boil with spices of your choice. Cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves bring out the best flavors in pumpkin. Once pumpkin is cooked soft, let it cool and lend into a fine puree. You can either strain and use it or use it directly depending on the dish. There you go, no preservatives, no added salt, home made puree that can go into pies, breads, cakes and hearty soups.

What do you need to make Pumpkin-Celery soup?
2 cups chopped pumpkin (or 1 cup pureed pumpkin)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped carrots (1 large carrot)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger - julienned into thin slices
1 clove
1/2 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1/2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tblsp milk
1/4 Tsp freshly powdered nutmeg
1 Tblsp oil (use a mild oil like canola or sunflower)

How do you make Pumpkin-Celery soup?
  • Heat oil in a pan, add ginger juliennes, let it roast for 30 seconds.
  • Add chopped onion and let it cook for 2 minutes until it becomes soft.
  • Add the chopped vegetables along with 1/2 cup water, salt, cloves and nutmeg.
  • Cover and cook on medium heat for 12-14 minutes until the vegetables are soft and cooked.
  • Let it cool down to room temperature.
  • Take all the cooked ingredients to the blender and make a smooth puree.
  • Pour the puree into a sauce pan, add fresh ground black pepper, milk and bring everything to a rolling boil.
  • Serve hot with saltine crackers, bread and a salad for a hearty meal.
  • Cooking nutmeg and cloves along with vegetable infuses the spices well into the soup making it very flavorful.
  • You can use butter instead of oil for sautéing the vegetables.
  • The amount of water and milk given here makes a thick, creamy soup. If you want, adjust the consistency with either water or milk.


NamsVeni Pothas said...

very nice and healthy pumpkin soup. waiting for the festival specials and bommala koluvu sweets.
happy navarathri to Sattvaa readers.

Anonymous said...

Yum, yum..
perfect for a warming up, cozy dinner, apt for this fall season... Happy Dashara to u2.

Priya Suresh said...

Very hearty,healthy and prefect soup for the fall season..Would love to have a bowl to keep me comfort.

Nandita SS said...

Happy Dassehra Nagashree. The spup looks so scrupstious. Loved the presentation!!!Just perfect for the autumn!!

Kannada Cuisine said...

Dasara Shubhashayagalu Nagashree