A few weeks ago, the hatch chilés landed in the Southwest. These are wonderful peppers that lend flavor and heat to recipes without the same acid or bite as a jalapeno. A friend, Allysa, supplied me with a gallon bag of hot and a gallon of the mild. These I blistered on the Big Green Egg, slapped under a heavy pot so they’d sweat, skinned, seeded, and froze down. I grab them out of the freezer to throw in Mac and Cheese, Rice, or tonight: Pumpkin Soup. They’re smokey, hot, and yummy.
1 medium sized pumpkin
Splash of olive oil
1 large Texas Sweet onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
4-5 hot hatch green chilés, diced (My soup was hot as sin. Back off if you care to)
1 tbs thyme fresh thyme leaves
1 tbs fresh sage leaves, diced
1 tbs fresh rosemary (or lavender?) leaves, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
Fresh grated nutmeg, to taste (go spare on this at first and add to finished soup if desired)
1 pumpkin ale (regular beer would work. I used: http://www.buffalobillsbrewery.com/beers_bottled.asp )
Optional: Splash of milk or soymilk
Split the pumpkin in half. I do this using and old heavy knife and a rubber mallet. Scrape out seeds and fiber and place these in a large stock pot that will accommodate a steamer basket. Cut the pumpkin into manageable cubes. Add about ½ inch of water to the stock pot and place your steamer basket down into the liquid. Place ½ the pumpkin cubes in the steamer basket, and steam over medium heat until fork tender. After steaming, strain the liquid from the pulp and seeds and save it to use as stock. Discard the pulp and seeds. The steamed pumpkin I peeled, pureed, drained, and froze for later use. I just wanted the stock. I believe I first saw this idea on America’s Test Kitchen.
Place the remaining pumpkin pieces in 2 baking dishes and roast them at 350 until soft. This took me about an hour. Allow them to cool, and remove the peel from the meat. Cut the meat into cubes and set aside.
In a heavy soup pan, heat enough olive oil to coat. Add diced onion to the pot and allow to cook over medium heat until they soften and pick up some color. I used the sweet onions specifically for the caramelization. Add garlic, green chilés, and cook to soften. Add seasonings, and herbs. Mix through to release the aromatics. Deglaze the pan with pumpkin ale and reserved stock from the steamed pumpkin. Add pumpkin cubes and just enough water to almost cover. Stir well and then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer on low until the flavors have blended and the pumpkin cubes are completely soft. Puree the vegetable pieces with a stick blender, or in your food processor in batches. Taste for flavor and adjust.
Mine was smoking hot from the peppers, so I added a generous splash of milk to cool it off, then served it with a drizle of maple syrup to balance the remaining fire. A drizzle of heavy cream would have been nice as well, but who needs the fat? Using soy milk instead of regular would have made this a nice meal soup for the vegans in your life.