Canned pumpkin makes for an easy and flavorful dish
Your pumpkin patch is calling: It’s tired of all the sweet spices and would like some savory for a change.
We’re happy to oblige. This soup unites the iconic October squash with some of its best pals – carrots, of course, but also chickpeas, ginger, and jalapeños.
This dish is great for weeknight dinner. But it’s also tasty enough to serve as a first course at your next dinner party. So give your guests pumpkin to talk about.
Recipe: Curried Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
Because we’ve added hearty chickpeas to this recipe, a large portion of this soup is more than filling enough for dinner (although you might want to add some crusty bread to round out the meal). A smaller serving works well as a starter.
The procedure for this dish is similar to that for our Curried Corn and Shishito Soup (though the flavor is quite different).
This isn’t a particularly spicy soup (despite the addition of jalapeño). If you want a spicier dish, increase the amount of the cayenne pepper – maybe use ½ teaspoon or so.
Prep time for this recipe is about 15 minutes. Cooking time adds 20 to 30 minutes.
This recipe yields 3 to 4 main-course servings (or twice that number when served as a starter).
Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container. Or you can freeze this soup for a month or two.
- 1 medium onion (we like to use red onion, but any color will do)
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 3 to 5 garlic cloves (to taste)
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers (to taste; we prefer 2)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- ~½ teaspoon kosher salt (to taste; see Notes)
- 1 pound carrots
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon powdered cumin (we sometimes increase this to 2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon powdered coriander
- ½ to 1 teaspoon turmeric (to taste)
- a few pinches of cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 4 cups chicken stock (may substitute vegetable stock or water)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cilantro (minced)
- Peel the onion and cut it into dice of about ½ inch. Set aside.
- Peel the ginger, chop it roughly, then add it to a mini food processor. Peel the garlic and add it to the mini food processor. Whirl the food processor until the garlic and ginger are finely minced. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the jalapeño pepper(s), then cut off the stem ends. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. With a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds and white membrane (the oil from the seeds carries much of the jalapeño heat). Mince the peppers finely, reserving a few jalapeño rounds for garnish if you wish. Set aside. (Alternatively, you can chop the jalapeños roughly and add them to the mini food processor, along with the ginger and garlic.) Then wash your hands with soap and water to remove the spicy jalapeño oil from your skin.
- Place a 4-quart cooking pot on medium stovetop heat. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil, then add the chopped onion and salt to taste. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes or so.
- While the onion is cooking, wash the carrots and peel them. Cut each carrot in half lengthwise, then slice the lengths into half moons. Set aside.
- Open the canned pumpkin. Set aside. Open the canned chickpeas, pour them into a strainer or colander, and rinse them off.
- When the onion has cooked for about 5 minutes, add the ginger/garlic mixture and the minced jalapeño, then sauté for another minute. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. Add the carrots, pumpkin, and chickpeas. Stir, then add the chicken stock.
- Simmer the soup for 15 to 20 minutes, until the carrots are soft.
- Meanwhile, wash and dry the cilantro, then mince it finely. Once the carrots are sufficiently soft, add the chopped cilantro to the soup, stir to combine, and simmer for an additional minute or two. Taste the soup and add salt if necessary.
- Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish if you wish (see Notes) and serve.
- We like to garnish this soup with sliced jalapeño rounds or a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. A dollop of sour cream would be nice, too.
- We sometimes use an immersion blender to break up chunks in the soup and give it a creamier texture. (We like chunky soup, though, so we usually pulse the blender for just a few seconds.) When to blend? Probably right after Step 8.
- Want a richer soup? You could stir in some heavy cream (maybe half a cup) when you add the cilantro in Step 9. That would also give the soup a creamier texture.
- Don’t like cilantro? Just leave it out.
- Prefer to use commercial curry powder in this soup? Use a tablespoon or so – and leave out the cumin, coriander, and turmeric (which are already incorporated into the curry powder).
- You can substitute roasted whole pumpkin for canned in this recipe. It would probably have better flavor (though canned pumpkin is pretty good quality, and certainly convenient.)
- Don’t want to use chickpeas? You could try substituting lentils (we haven’t done this, but think it would work well, particularly if you use red lentils). If going that route, add about ¾ cup dried lentils and increase the amount of liquid to 5 cups. Then simmer the soup until the lentils are sufficiently soft – maybe 20 minutes for red lentils, 35 minutes for ordinary brown lentils.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, start with about half the amount we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Hello gourd-geous,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “This soup is delish.”
“Darn gourd,” I said.
“We need to squash these puns,” said Mrs K R.
“Don’t think I cayenne,” I said.
“So we’re stuck with these punkin puns?” said Mrs K R.
“Afraid so, my little chickpea,” I said.
“Well, the flavor of this soup is haunting me,” said Mrs K R. “What if I suggested seconds?”
I’d light up like a jack o’lantern.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Curried Cauliflower Soup
Curried Corn and Shishito Soup
Curried Cauliflower and Chicken Soup
Moroccan Chickpea Soup (Harira)
Pumpkin-Spice Pumpkin Soup
Moroccan Carrot Soup
Pumpkin and Pork Chili
Or check out the index for more