For Chugging Pumpkin Soup, left, use vegan cheese and soy milk, or substitute the real thing. Leftover White Bean, Chicken and Pumpkin Chili can be tucked into a tortilla with shredded Jack cheese. (Gretchen McKay / Post-Gazette)
Halloween is more the pumpkin’s seasonal debut than its swan song. But why stop at pies, cookies, breads and tarts?
A low-calorie food that adds protein, fiber and mega amounts of vitamin A to your diet, pumpkin lends itself to an endless variety of dishes, like the White Bean, Chicken and Pumpkin Chili.
Pumpkin soup is a fall favorite — and so easy! The original recipe for the Chugging Pumpkin Soup I made called for soy milk and vegan cheese, but I substituted the real deal. Feel free to leave out the rum if you’re serving it to kids.
To toast pumpkin seeds, toss with a little oil, add salt and bake in a 250-degree oven for about an hour, checking and stirring every 15 minutes.
If you want to make pumpkin puree from scratch, remove seeds, cut into large chunks, rub with oil and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Or, cut into wedges and microwave on high for 5 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Take off skin and puree cooked pumpkin by pulsing it in a food processor or mashing it with a potato masher. One pound of fresh pumpkin will yield about 1 cup of puree.
Alton Brown makes a twist on what’s probably the best known dish associated with the seasonal orange orb with his Whole Pumpkin Pie Soup. Like Brown’s offering, Curried Pumpkin Soup is lovely when served in a hollowed-out pumpkin shell, especially with mini-pumpkins for individual servings.
It’s a good time to be a pumpkin eater.
Whole Pumpkin Pie Soup
Recipe Courtesy Alton Brown, 2013
1 whole baking pumpkin, approximately 4 pounds, rinsed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ small yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
2 ounces goat cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Make a lid on the top of the pumpkin by cutting around the stem at a 45-degree angle. Make sure opening is large enough to work within. Remove the seeds and fibers with a metal spoon or ice cream scoop and kitchen shears. Reserve seeds for another use. Brush the exterior of the pumpkin and lid with vegetable oil. Oil a round casserole dish large enough to hold the pumpkin and place the pumpkin inside.
Combine the butter, onion, salt, garlic, apples, chicken broth and heavy cream in the hollow pumpkin. Replace the lid of the pumpkin to cover. Bake for 1½ hours.
Remove the lid. Add the goat cheese and thyme and bake an additional 30 minutes, uncovered. Remove the pumpkin from the oven, and gently scrape some of the flesh into the soup mixture. Puree with an immersion blender to desired consistency, being careful to avoid the sides and bottom of the pumpkin. Serve immediately.
Yield: 6 servings
Per serving: 164 calories; 13 g fat (8 g saturated fat; 71 percent calories from fat); 10 g carbohydrates; 41 mg cholesterol; 402 mg sodium; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber.
White Bean, Chicken and Pumpkin Chili
Recipe from “Pumpkin: A Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year” by DeeDee Stovel (Storey, 2005)
This is a little lighter than traditional beef-based chili. Tuck any leftovers with some shredded Jack cheese into a flour tortilla.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ pounds fresh pumpkin, seeds and fibers removed
15-ounce can chicken broth
3 20-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4-ounce can chopped mild green chiles
2 to 3 teaspoons cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons green Tabasco sauce
¼ cup minced cilantro
Sour cream for garnish
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onion 1 minute. Add garlic and pepper, and cook 1 minute longer. Add chicken and salt, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Microwave pumpkin on high for 3 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into ½-inch chunks to measure 3 cups. Store any remaining pumpkin in refrigerator for up to a week or in freezer for up to 3 months.
Stir in broth, beans, pumpkin, chiles, cumin and Tabasco sauce; cook for 15 minutes over low heat, until chicken is done and pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve while hot, topping each with a pinch of cilantro and dollop of sour cream.
Per serving: 304 calories; 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 21 percent calories from fat); 37 g carbohydrates; 60 mg cholesterol; 941 mg sodium; 32 g protein; 11 g fiber.
The Chugging Pumpkin Soup
Adapted from “The Tipsy Vegan” by John Schlimm (Da Capo, 2012)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
½ cup finely chopped shallots
5 cups vegetable stock
2 cans pumpkin puree
1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped into ½-inch chunks
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced crosswise into ½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons molasses
Finely minced zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup milk or half-and-half
½ cup dark rum
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm olive oil with sesame oil. Add shallots and saute them, stirring occasionally, until they’re translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add stock, pumpkin, potato and carrot, raise the heat to high, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree soup until very smooth, or (carefully!) puree in batches in a blender with a towel placed over the lid. Stir in brown sugar, molasses, orange zest and curry. Over low heat, stir in milk, rum and Tabasco. Taste carefully. Season with salt and pepper and add nutmeg.
Serve in warm bowls and pass with toasted pumpkin seeds and cheese for sprinkling.
Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 387 calories; 22 g fat (8 g saturated fat; 51 percent calories from fat); 25 g carbohydrates; 35 mg cholesterol; 630 mg sodium; 15 g protein; 2 g fiber.
Curried Pumpkin Soup
Adapted by Lee Svitak Dean of the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) from “The Soup & Bread Cookbook” by Beatrice Ojakangas
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
¼ cup sour cream
Toasted sunflower seeds
Directions: Heat the butter in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the curry powder, onion and carrot. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Return mixture to soup pot and stir in the pumpkin, half-and-half, salt and white pepper. Heat over medium heat to a serving temperature. Scoop into soup bowls or pumpkin shells. Top with sour cream and sunflower seeds. Serves 6.
Per serving: 212 calories; 6 g fat (10 g saturated fat; 26 percent calories from fat); 14 g carbohydrates; 45 mg cholesterol; 310 mg sodium; 5 g protein; 3 g fiber.
Detroit News staff and wires contributed to this report.