Roasted Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Soup, Cabbage, Orzo
Thumbing through one of my favorite cookbooks, “Potager” Fresh Garden Cooking in the French Style, I came upon a unique Roasted Pumpkin Stew whose ingredients swirled in some fresh strips of cabbage along with some cooked Italian riso.
The lovely golden color transformed to soup topped with freshly clipped green chives and a few baked pumpkin seeds for garnish seemed a good choice as a first course for my Halloween dinner. The annual gathering is shared with our neighbor friends who make their way over later in the evening following the masses of trick or treaters who in the setting of our large development never seem to be as numerous as before, despite having as many families with small children as ever before. The only conclusion I’ve come to is that one of the villages must collectively be giving out a lot of king sized candy bars.
This time of the year I love photographing the seasonal changes while taking in the beauty, even the bareness of winter, patterns of evolving growth and renewal.
This is around the size pumpkin you might use along with a couple medium sized butternut squash in preparing today’s soup du jour, Roasted Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Soup, Cabbage, Orzo.
I’ve love pretty colored chunks of butternut squash cut up, seasoned, then spread across a baking sheet which makes it surprising that I’ve on two occasions now forgot to photograph a before or after shot.
I did however, remember to photograph the leeks whereby my grandson, the J-Dude, regularly chimes his learned kitchen wisdom that leeks are among the dirtiest of all vegetables, indeed wash em well.
As for the soup and its unique addition of fresh cabbage strips and cooked orzo, piping hot bowls of richly flavored yet simple earthy delight brighten any cool season evening, including if barren plot has become the season of one’s own Potager.
- 1 1/2-2 pound cooking pumpkin, approximately, (seeds reserved) plus 2 medium sized butternut squash, the roasted cubes between both should equal around 7-8 cups
- 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- few pinches coarse kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 leeks, white parts with a little bit of green, chopped, rinsed well
- 1/2 medium sized cabbage, thinly sliced into strips then cut in half
- 6 cups chicken stock, plus more for thinning soup as desired
- 1/4 cup dry sherry (white wine may be substituted)
- 1 cup cooked orzo
- 5 tablespoons fresh snipped chives
- 3-5 baked pumpkin seeds per bowl for garnish (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper
- In a tiny bowl mix together the cumin, turmeric and salt, stir
- Cut stem top off of pumpkin, remove inside seeds to a small colander, leave on the outer pumpkin skin (easily removed once pumpkin is cooked.) Cut pumpkin into quarters lengthwise then cut each of the quarters in half, cut slices into similar sized chunks, spread across a baking sheet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle over 1/3 of spice mixture, toss to evenly coat the pieces
- Using a kitchen peeler, peel skin from the butternut squash, lop off the top stem and the bottom. Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds and discard, cut halves in half, cut into evenly sized chunks, spread across the second baking sheet, add 3-4 tablespoons oil, sprinkle on remaining spice mixture coating evenly throughout
- Place both trays of pumpkin and squash cubes into the oven, roasting for an hour or a little longer until tender throughout
- While the pumpkin and squash are roasting, cook orzo el dente in salted, boiling water, drained, rinsed in cool water, set aside
- On very low heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large soup pot, add in the leeks, cook until tender, around five minutes, pour in the chicken stock, cook until hot, drop in the cabbage strips, simmer until tender, around ten minutes. Turn off heat
- Remove roasted pumpkin and butternut squash from oven let cool slightly. Ladle a few cups of the chicken stock into a measuring cup. Working in batches, topple butternut squash into a blender, pour in some of the chicken stock and pulse to puree, transfer puree to pot. Proceed pureeing the pumpkin using the same process then transferring to the pot, pour in 2/3 of the sherry (or white wine) stir and cook for five minutes
- Stir in the orzo, cook a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls topping with fresh snipped chives and a few baked pumpkin seeds as garnish
- Preparing Pumpkin Seeds: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse seeds well removing any attached pumpkin, dry slightly using a paper towel. Spread pumpkin seeds across a baking sheet, toss with around a tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkling each of salt and pepper, bake for around 35 minutes until golden, stirring once in between
Adapted from the cookbook: "Potager" Fresh Garden Cooking In The French Style, by Georgeanne Brennan 1 hour 30 serves ten