It all started when I impulsively bought a couple of cute new rust-orange dishtowels covered with little pumpkins to help usher in the autumn season. I threw them in the washer with a small load of white laundry by mistake. Well, you know what happened.
One of my favorite white wear-around-the-house-shirts, two of my husband’s white workout tee shirts, five pairs of our white gym socks, and a couple pairs of his tighty-whities came out a lovely shade of pale orange. I tried to pretend it was funny and threatened to sew up his undies and then stuff them to create a kind of mutant great pumpkin to put out on the steps by the front door. Fortunately, the New York Giants were on TV and he sat transfixed ignoring my gasps and cranky laughter as I tried to figure out how much bleach I would need to make everything all white again. Thank God for Sunday night football.
Long story short- little dancing pumpkins whirled around my head the rest of the night and this morning I woke up with a huge craving for everything pumpkin: pumpkin bread, old fashioned pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bars and my favorite easy-to-make-in-a-couple of-instant-replay-minutes: Caribbean Pumpkin Soup. I love this soup because the first mouthful always surprises me with it’s rich, savory, spicy, fragrant flavor. It combines cumin, allspice, black beans, a hint of molasses and a touch of fresh cilantro in a creamy antioxidant-rich pumpkin base laced with onions and green pepper. It’s really good.
I usually serve a big bowl along side a fresh green salad as part of a colorful dinner. But sometimes I make a pot just so I can have a cup for lunch several days in a row. It’s fast, easy and hits the spot when you crave a little bit of orange in your life and you don’t have any new dish towels to wash.
CARIBBEAN PUMPKIN SOUP
Here is a sunny, pantry-friendly gluten-free and vegan soup to get you through the busy holidays or any time you start longing for a little tropical spice. I like to make it one day before I serve it in order to allow the flavors to develop.
Serves 4 – 6
Recipe can be doubled
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons allspice
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 can coconut milk (about 13.5 ounces)
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth*
1 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan (3 – 4 quarts) over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add green pepper and sauté for 5 minutes more over medium heat until vegetables are soft.
- Turn heat to high and add cumin and allspice. Stir continuously for 1 minute.
- Add pumpkin puree, coconut milk, chicken broth, black beans, and molasses and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat; cover pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Add lime juice, cilantro, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Soup can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator for up to three days a tightly sealed container. Leftovers can be stored in refrigerator for up to three days. Rewarm over medium-high heat.
*You can use chicken broth for a non-vegetarian soup.
(c)2010 by Annalise Roberts