ok time to share some deliciousness:
for a while now i've been making a vegetable stew-soup (stoup, to borrow a rachel ray word) consisting of potatoes, carrots, odd spices, onion and garlic of course, and diced tomatoes with some stock for broth. I loooove potatoes in soup, so it was basically built around that key element.
but today while at the supermarket i spied some sugar pumpkins and squash on fall sale and had to scoop them up! The potatoes and carrots i always have on hand were calling to me, so i looked up some recipes to include the gourds and found this one to base (jump?) off.
I've already discovered how easy it is to substitute for canned pumpkin - a good 10 step process here - but it's basically: 1) cut in half or quarter the pumpkin 2) scoop out the seeds and stringy gunk 3) place in an oven safe dish/pan/casserole cut side down with about an inch of water 4) bake at 350 for 40-60 minutes and VOILA! the skin will fall right off and you can blend or puree the innards to your desired consistency!
Soooo, as the base recipe dictated, pureed pumpkin and set aside twice the amount (i love me some stoup!), then deviated: cut up half an onion and let sizzle with a splash of our amazing habanero tequila oil (sent from the gods ... or picked up at the st. john spice co. - best purchase EVER) then chop-chop-chopped the potatoes and carrots, some green beans and tossed them in with about a cup of the pumpkin water and a few more cups of regular water. I added a can of diced tomatoes as well as about a tbsp of cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, bay leaves red pepper flakes, chili spice and the pumpkin puree then let simmer for an hour or so.
OH MY GODNESS the smell was HEAVENLY!! Jake kept asking if it was done yet, and we had to keep checking via carrot-tenderness. Finally, we dug in and it was even better than it smelled!!! i don't know whether it was the oil, chili flakes, or spices that gave it such a lingering perfect spiciness, but i do know that the pumpkin puree gave it a creamy smooth texture that has been lacking in my previous veggie stoups. the pumpkin flavor combined with everthing else... all i can say is this autumnal stew-soup is going to be a top staple dinner around here for a very, very long time!