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December 13, 2009

Easy Pumpkin-Citrus Soup


This simple soup is one of my favorite no-recipe meals; I make it so often I know it by heart. Pumpkin and citrus provide some color, liveliness, and vitamin C as we enter this gray time of year.

This soup is elegant enough to be part of a holiday meal, and easy enough for a weekend lunch. It freezes well, so make it now while autumn’s pumpkins are at their sweetest.

Pumpkin-Citrus Soup
2 Tablespoons butter or nondairy margarine
1 large yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 cups cubed pumpkin (one medium Long Pie pumpkin)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon coriander
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2-3 strips freshly grated orange zest
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from half a large orange)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cream or coconut milk (optional)

In a large pot or deep saucepan, melt butter or margarine and sauté onion 5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and sauté another 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add pumpkin, broth, bay leaves, coriander, red pepper flakes, and orange zest. Bring to a low boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer 10-15 minutes, until pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork.

Turn off heat and remove bay leaves. Purée in batches in blender and pour into a clean pot. Keep soup warm over low heat. Stir in orange juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each bowl with cream or coconut milk and freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 4-6.

To easily cube a pumpkin, first halve it and scoop out the seeds and strings. Then slice the pumpkin into inch-thick half-moons. Lay each slice on its side and cut away the rind, then cut the flesh to desired size.

Mary Lake is a writer, teacher, columnist for MF&L, and vegetarian blogger: Mitten Machen.

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