I’ve got the Thanksgiving fall bug bite! It has been pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin at my home since last month! I mean this US tradition is really contagious or maybe because of my numerous travels to the USA I have been infected with this culture way below the equator in my sunshiny island. My husband might argue with that and say it’s my addiction to look at food network or any US cooking show. The fact is that it’s pumpkin season in the US with Thanksgiving swiftly approaching! I thought why don’t I try a pumpkin pie recipe to have a little fall flavors down under too….
Pumpkin Soup is one of the best soups I have ever tasted! I first tasted this soup at a wedding held at a hotel a few years ago and at that time I was not handy in the kitchen as I am today. I could not wrap my head around what the ingredients were but all I knew was I was wowed by the thought that pumpkin soup had impressed me like that. I soon forgot about that and then I started to try many other soups. Over the years I have made many pumpkin soups and I really wasn’t a fan until I made up this recipe. I think I was either going to hit or miss with this one and definitely if I’m not tooting my own horn I think I hit and definitely scored!
A friend bought these cans of pumpkin puree for me as per my request as I know they are seasonal just in time for fall and halloween in the US. I made pumpkin cheese cake (and it was yummy) and then I forgot about the rest of cans. Looking in my pantry one afternoon, I saw them and immediately was stumped …
In an attempt to eat healthy and light for dinner, I thought about this delicious pumpkin soup. Not to mention it was a rainy and cold evening! It was so comforting to eat something so tasty and at the same time full of my favorite vegetables. The nutmeg and the cinnamon added another element to the flavors of the vegetables and complimented them so nicely. This soup is a great vegetarian option for a meal or can be used as a starter in a multiple course meal. It is way better than popping open a can to make soup and it is a really quick and easy recipe! I know this soup recipe is a real keeper and I will continue to make it again and again, especially when it’s raining! What better bragging right to get when you make this recipe! Enjoy!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yields: 5 cups
1 ½ lbs cleaned pumpkin
1 medium onion
5-6 cloves garlic
3 large celery sticks
3 medium carrots
1 large bell pepper
2 pimento peppers
2 cups water
2 cups skimmed/ low fat milk
1/8 cup brown sugar (optional)
3/4 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
4 stalks chive finely chopped
Begin by chopping all the vegetables down to the same size. In a pot on medium heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the chopped onion, garlic and pimento peppers. Cook for 2 minutes until there is a high aroma from the pot. Add pumpkin and let cook for 13 minutes until tender. Add the carrots and the celery. Cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the cinnamon, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, sugar, and stir. Reduce the heat to low and add the milk and bell pepper. During this time, use an immersion blender to blend all the ingredients together in the pot. Let simmer for 10 minutes until it has reached a fairly thick consistency. Be sure not boil. Serve hot and top with the chopped chive.
There are many variations and ways of cooking this dish in Trinidad and mostly Tobago where it is said this delicious meal originated and for which it is well known. For many persons who visit the beautiful Isle of Tobago, flock to the popular Store bay beach to enjoy this lunch dish, licking their fingers when they are finished! Over the past few years, a more convenient variation of the original meal became a more popular “fete food” for the Carnival season with the vendors using crab meat instead of the actual blue crab. Either way, this dish is a hot seller! For a few weeks I have thought about this meal and how long I haven’t actually had it. I wanted to try something very different in terms of the dumpling as well as including some type of vegetable in it. I came up with a pumpkin dumpling which tasted sweet and succulent! I also decided that I wanted the sauce to be absorbed into the dumplings as its is being cooked. Traditionally in Tobago, it is made with the dumplings being boiled in plain water and the crab being cooked separately. I really think the recipe offers a lot more flavor with it all being cooked together. I encourage you to try it and let this lovely meal be the hearty comfort to your day! Bon Appétit!
One Pot Curried Crab and Pumpkin Dumpling
Preparation time: 40-50 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yields 5-6 servings
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour and 1/8 cup dusting
1 1/2 cups grated pumpkin
1/2 tbsp garlic powder or granules
1/2 tbsp onion powder or granules
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp salt
4 tbsps cubed margarine (cold)
1 1/2 tbsps brown sugar
1/4 -1/2 cup of water
5 blue crabs cleaned and washed in white vinegar and hot water or 4 tins crab meat
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1 cup green seasoning
1 tbsp curried powder
1 tbsp turmeric or saffron powder
2 1/2 cups water plus 3 tbsps water
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tin coconut milk
2 tbsps vegetable oil
Mix all the ingredients for the dumpling together with the exception of the liquid. Incorporate the margarine cubes properly so that it resembles bread crumbs. When thoroughly mixed, gradually add the water until the dough looks moist and soft but not too sticky. Add some of remaining flour to dust the dough so that it does not stick. Let dough rest.
In a pot add oil and put on medium heat. Mix both the curry powder and saffron powder with the 3 tbsp of water. When the oil is hot, carefully add the curry mixture to it and it will bubble vigorously once the oil is at the right temperature. Keep stirring and when it dries down and starts sticking to the pot, add the seasoned crab and keep stirring until it is coated with the curry mixture and allow to fry for 2-4 minutes. When finished frying, add the coconut milk , evaporated milk, and water to the pot. Turn up the heat to high and let boil for 5 minutes. After it has boiled, remove the crab from the pot and add the dumplings to cook in the coconut milk sauce. If using crab meat, simply add the dumplings in and leave in the crab meat. After 5 minutes of cooking the dumplings, carefully stir and add back the crab. Be careful as the dumplings can break up. Cook for about 2 minutes again allowing the dish to have enough sauce. Be careful not to boil down too much as the dumplings absorb the sauce. Serve hot and enjoy!
Now this recipe came about in a funny way! I bought pumpkin in the grocery store and in retrospection I could have fed an army! I mean I was making a meal that only needed a small amount of pumpkin yet I had more than double the amount remaining! After a week I forgot about it in the refrigerator as it continuously got pushed back. Then as I was clearing out some dishes the pumpkin appeared to me like a rising sun! I thought hmmm I really do not want this to waste so I cut it up and washed it. As I am into smoothies these days in a “fruitful” attempt to get my fruits and veges in, I thought why do I not make a drink out of this! So I cooked and froze this pumpkin and here is how I made this yummylicious healthy drink!
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Yields 2 cups/ glasses
1 cup frozen cooked pumpkin
1 cup low-fat or skimmed milk
2-3 tbsp low-fat yogurt
1tsp cinnamon (and some extra to garnish)
2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
Wash, cut and steam pumpkin before hand and store in the freezer in a resealable bag. In a blender, add frozen pumpkin and the rest of ingredients. Blend until all the ingredients become a thick liquid. Pour into 2 glasses, garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top and drink with a smoothie straw.
*Tip- make the frozen pumpkin in batches before hand and flatten evenly in a resealable bag so it breaks apart evenly when frozen. If you do not have frozen pumpkin, use cool cooked pumpkin and ice cubes when blending. Keep in mind there maybe more liquid than is needed so you can reduce the amount of milk as you see fit.