Pumpkin soup is the perfect autumn meal.
In this version, ginger warms from the inside and kicks the sniffles to the curb. Fragrant basmati rice adds texture and turns it into a satisfying lunch or dinner.
I used a farmer’s market pumpkin, but if you’re buying at a grocery store, look for sugar pumpkins (not jack-o-lantern pumpkins), or else swap in a squash (any kind!) or even a couple of sweet potatoes.
With so few ingredients, create a foundation of flavour by roasting a pumpkin yourself.
This beautiful browned and caramelized bits add rich flavour and savoury-sweetness to the pumpkin soup. You could swap in canned, but I really love the added texture that slow oven roast provides. Then as the cooked pumpkin simmers in the broth, simply break it up with a wooden spoon rather than pureeing it.
I used homemade turkey stock as the broth, but use whatever chicken or vegetable broth you have handy.
Build layers of seasoning by adding salt at every step.
A few pinches when roasting the pumpkin. A few when cooking the rice. Some more when sauteing the onions, and when adding the broth and spices. Seasoning every component is key to a flavourful vegetarian soup.
I used leftover basmati rice from a previous night’s curry. You can cook 2/3 cup raw basmati right in the soup, but it’ll soak up lots of the delicious liquid. If you’d like to do it that way as a shortcut, be sure to add more broth. (And make sure there’s enough salt to season it as it cooks).
The chile oil is a necessary finishing touch.
Don’t leave it out. I use chile sesame oil. If you want a substitute. loosen up a bit of harissa paste with a drizzle of olive oil and use that instead, or make your own chile oil.
How to roast a pumpkin.
Simply chop a gourd in half, discard the seeds, rub the insides with olive oil, generously season with salt and pepper. Roast flesh-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 400ºF oven until very soft — usually an hour to an hour-and-a-half depending on the size and thickness. Remove the skin when it’s cool enough to handle.
Pumpkin Soup with Ginger and Rice
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 onion
- 2" piece of fresh ginger finely grated
- 4 cups roasted pumpkin
- 4 cups broth
- 1/2 tsp ground cayenne
- 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
- 2 cups cooked basmati rice
- chili oil to finish
- Melt butter in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and a good pinch of salt and saute until completely soft and translucent, about 12 minutes. Add ginger and saute 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Stir in pumpkin, broth, cayenne and pepper, plus another good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Mash and break up the pumpkin chunks with a wooden spoon. Simmer 10 minutes. Taste the soup and add more salt a pinch at a time until it tastes vibrant and well seasoned. (The total amount will depend on how salty your broth and roasted pumpkin were).
- Stir in cooked rice and simmer until heated through. Ladle into bowls and serve with chili oil.