Quikong is a proud meat lover. How do I know this? Well firstly, he has a name for his grill/BBQ ("the Black Stallion"). Secondly, when we were looking for a new apartment, the top priorities for him were - it has to be by the water and the porch has to be spacious enough for his Stallion. In his defence, he does enjoy vegetarian foods and now that I think about it, half of the meals we cook at home is vegetarian. However he always gives me a tortured look on his face when I say that I am making chickpea-something. So how did I manage to convince him that chickpeas taste good? With this soup which blew him away. I served the soup with a beautiful rye bread I bought from a sourdough bakery.
Verdict: Quikong finished a big bowl of it and commented a few times how much he enjoyed it. He even said, “you should make this again.” The only problem now is that I have to share my soup with him....hmmmm...
October 1st was World Vegetarian Day. Do visit the World Vegetarian Day website to find out more about it. I am submitting this recipe to Margot over at Coffee and Vanilla who is hosting Vegetarian Awareness Month for all of October.
For this recipe, I used Japanese pumpkin (also referred to as a squash in North America. Learn more about pumpkin/squash here). I always tend to buy this particular variety because it is less watery than other types, with drier, sweeter flesh and has an excellent nutty flavour. The natural sweetness intensifies when roasted. Despite it being spring in Sydney, pumpkin/squash is plentiful because we can get them all year round. Kevin of Closet Cooking made delicious pumpkin risotto using Japanese pumpkin last weekend, so do head over to have a look. He also explained how you can make pumpkin puree as well as toast pumpkin seeds (skin on).
Chickpea and Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Adapted from Donna Hay’s "Off the shelf – Cooking from the pantry"
2kg (4lb) pumpkin
6 cups (2.5 pints) vegetable stock
1 tbsp oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
1 small fresh chilli, chopped
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
1 x 400g (14 oz) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
Fresh coriander, roughly chopped (or shredded basil)
Pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
Chopped chilli (seeds removed) & coriander
- Cut pumpkin into large wedges (leaving skin on). Place it in a baking tray and roast pumpkin at 200° C (400° F) for about 40 minutes or until soft and golden.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté onions, garlic, cumin and chilli over medium heat till onions turn soft.
- In two batches, scrape the pumpkin flesh into a food processor with 1.5 cups of stock and cooked onion/garlic mixture and blend till smooth.
- Place the pureed pumpkin mixture into the saucepan. Add the mustard, honey, remaining stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Just before serving, stir through coriander (or shredded basil) and garnish with toasted pumpkin and chilli, if desired. Serve with grilled bread. Serves 4.