Soup Series: Creamy Pumpkin Curry and Popovers
The Tale of a Pumpkin and 12 Popovers
I must have had a similar “fall is in the air” feeling a few years ago when I first found this recipe on the Internet. I typed in “pumpkin soup” and was immediately attracted to the pumpkin and curry flavor combination – not to mention the ease of using canned pumpkin. I’ve made it countless times since (even served it as a first course for Christmas last year) and this past weekend, I pulled out the pumpkin bowls, officially kicking off the season of comfort cooking. Apparently I got in the mood for pumpkin after a morning at Dave’s Pumpkin Patch in West Sacramento, our annual pre-Halloween family tradition.
I haven’t tweaked the recipe one bit since that first fall day, but I have played with the presentation. I almost immediately justified purchasing the trendy pumpkin bowls you see in almost every housewares store this time of year. Somehow it tastes better when served with a cute little lid! My favorite garnish is a dollop of crème fraiche (haven’t mastered swirling but it always looks pretty in food magazines) and croutons – preferably homemade. On the top of my Christmas wish list last year was a hand blender, a tool I learned about from attending many photo shoots with our favorite food stylist, Patty Mastracco. My kitchen had suffered too many orange splatter stains from transferring the soup from a stovetop pan to a blender and vice versa. The hand blender (mine is made by Braun and I like it very much) has saved my back and my marriage (I usually called in my husband to be sous chef for the task and he hated the assignment). Finally, I love to serve the soup with a Caesar salad and popovers, another recipe I have cherished for several years (see story below).
Cream of Pumpkin Curry Soup
Makes 4 servings.
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
1 cup half-and-half
Sour cream or crème fraiche, chopped chives and croutons (optional garnish)
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in curry powder, salt, coriander and crushed red pepper; cook for 1 minute. Add water and bouillon cubes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and half-and-half; cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Transfer mixture to food processor or blender (in batches, if necessary); cover. Blend until creamy. Serve warm. Garnish.
I spent Thanksgiving 2005 in New York City. I was there for work staffing the inaugural flight of the Healthy Mr. Potato Head balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on behalf of my client, the U.S. Potato Board. It was a professional highlight complemented by one of the best Thanksgiving meals I’ve ever tasted. My husband and best friend accompanied me to New York that week. We concluded the amazing day (it was the first time all three of us had seen the parade live) with dinner at Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Steak. I made the reservation months in advance, and it was so worth it. I have wonderful memories of the turkey served with roasted garlic cloves, the shaved brussel sprouts, perfectly mashed potatoes, and THE POPOVERS. The popovers graced the table so beautifully, they were the prettiest centerpiece I’ve ever seen! And the taste? Imagine gruyere cheese baked into the egg-y goodness that is a popover. Unbelievable. The best part came at the end – even after the sinfully good pumpkin pie topped with real whipping cream – when the check was delivered with a mini-recipe card for the popovers. I still have the card today and remember our special meal so fondly every time I look at it. I had much to give thanks for that day, and still do!
From BLT Steak
Makes 12 popovers.
Place the popover pan in the oven. Heat the oven and pan to 350 degrees. Gently warm the milk over low heat and set aside. Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk (so as not to cook the eggs). Set the mixture aside. Sift the flour with the salt. Slowly add this dry mixture to the egg mixture and gently combine until mostly smooth. Once combined, remove the popover pan from the oven and spray with non-stick vegetable spray. While the batter is still slightly warm or room temperature (definitely not cool), fill each popover cup ¾ full. Top each popover with approximately 2 ¼ Tablespoons of the grated gruyere. Bake for 50 minutes, rotating pan half a turn after 15 minutes of baking. Remove from the oven, remove from the pan and serve immediately.