Curried pumpkin & carrot soup

It’s September, so fall is here! The weather is getting cooler here in northern France; it’s in the low sixties on average and I love it. Unfortunately, I forgot my nice fall jacket in the train yesterday. All these aller-retours to work are making me a little goofy. But, who needs a jacket when they can make soup?

Fall means that pumpkins are starting to show up at the farmers markets, and what better to make with pumpkin than soup? The carrots that I had had for over a week were begging to be used as well. If weather is cooling down for you, this nice soup will warm you right up.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 small pumpkin
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 cups water*
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup cream (optional)

Here’s what to do:

  1. Peel the pumpkin, carrots, onion, and garlic and cut them all into small chunks.
  2. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the curry powder, garam masala, and ginger and cook for 1 minute, or until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Add the pumpkin and carrot and stir everything together. Pour the water over the vegetables – *make sure that the water covers the vegetables by about an inch, you may need to adjust depending on the size of your pumpkin – and add in the bouillon cube. Stir and bring to a boil.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about __ minutes.
  6. Take the pot off the heat. Using an immersion blender, mix until the soup is smooth. Season with salt and pepper as necessary. Stir in the cream (optional).

Bon appétit! 

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Roasted heirloom tomato soup

I had always hated tomatoes. When eating out, I asked for them to be left off of the plate (or I wouldn’t order anything with tomatoes to start with). I cringed as my dad and brother would bite into whole tomatoes at snack time. I would pull them off of sandwiches. Seriously, I could not stand them.

However, when I decided to become vegetarian, I told myself that I would have to try to start liking more vegetables. Tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers… I’m looking at you guys. Little by little, I forced – encouraged? – myself to just leave the tomatoes on and try them out. It was rough in the beginning, but now I can proudly say that I enjoy tomato dishes and can even snack on cherry tomatoes. What happened to me?!

So when heirloom tomato season arrived, I grabbed a kilo of them from the Ferme des Mions and made this delicious roasted tomato soup from Tyler Florence. The next week at the market, I told the farmer about my delicious soup and they were shocked. “It’s funny, heirloom tomatoes are usually eaten raw, as a tomato salad, seasoned with a little salt and pepper,” he told me.

I may be able to eat tomatoes now, but I can’t eat a whole one raw just quite yet. Check back next year!

The summer days here in Cassel aren’t too warm – the temperature gets up to around 75 or 80F on average – so I enjoyed this soup with some leftover Spanish tortilla. You’ll also love it with a yummy grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 small yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Here’s what to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F / 230°C.
  2. Wash and cut the core out of the tomatoes, then cut them into about 3-4 pieces each, depending on size. Spread the tomatoes, garlic, and onion onto a baking tray and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread into a single layer and roast for 20-30 minutes, until caramelized.
  3. Remove the tomatoes, garlic, and onion from the oven and put them into a large stockpot with the 3 cups of the vegetable broth, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat, simmering for 15-20 minutes until the liquid has reduced.
  4. Remove the bay leaves from the pot. Add the basil. Remove the pot from heat and purée the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the cream and return to low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For a super easy grilled cheese sandwich, you can butter one side of two slices of French bread and spread some pesto on the other side of each piece. Use a mixture of shredded comté, gruyère, and parmesan as the filling. It’s the perfect pairing to this soup!