Roasted Pumpkin Miso Soup
Always love the warm comforting texture of pumpkin soup. Have made it on many occasions and it's actually quite simple. But for this recipe I thought I'd level up a little with some roasted pumpkin seeds, charred pumpkin skin and miso paste to add a mellowed salted caramel-like taste.
I like to steam my pumpkin with skin on. It is said that steaming, as opposed to boiling, keeps nutrients intact. But I do that so that I don't have to work with too much water. Chop and remove all seeds and set seeds aside for toasting. Steam it for a good 15 mins. Then, let it cool for a a few minutes and transfer to the oven to grill it skin up (or broil, as they call it in America).
I must have grilled it on high for about 10 - 15 mins till the skin is nicely roasted on the burnt/charred side. I used butternut pumpkin for this recipe, just because it's smaller and easier to handle than the bigger ones. Also, the skin on these are a lot thinner and easier to work with. You can use any pumpkin.
In America, they call it Squash. No idea why but it is the same thing.
While you wait for that roasted pumpkin, work the Miso. I used red miso but any other varieties like white miso works as well. Chop up some cloves of garlic, one whole onion and fry with the miso in olive oil and butter. It should be about 5 mins on high heat and they should look somewhat like a paste.
Once the pumpkin is ready, take it out of the oven and let it rest and cool down for about 15 mins. Because the next thing is to blend everything - the miso paste that was just fried + all the pumpkin AND you want to wait for the freshly roasted pumpkin to cool down a bit. BUT if you have a heat proof blender or better yet, a Thermomix, damn why you still reading this?
Blitz away to blend into a smooth mixture. Add cream or vegetable stock if you like to help with the blending. Feel free to stop and scrape down the sides intermittently to get the entire pumpkin properly pureed.
Add the entire blended mixture along with thyme and vegetable stock back to pan and bring to a low simmer. For the vegetable stock, I used my saved chickpea juice from the boil that's been stewing in the fridge with thyme for a few days now. Keep stirring and adding more cream as desired. It should thicken as you simmer and stir. At this point the soup is pretty much ready to serve and how long more you simmer is just dependant on how thick you want your soup. I reckon I'd simmer for another 15 mins.
In the meantime, toast the saved pumpkin seeds at 200ºC / 395ºF for 15 mins. This is to serve as a topping and garnish along with the yoghurt and cilantro.
You can also toast some goji berries to go along as garnish if you have some in your kitchen stash. It will add a sweet punch and a chewy texture to your soup.
To serve, sprinkle some roasted pumpkin seeds (goji berries if you have), a dollop of plain greek yoghurt and some cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste and.... TADAAAAA!
Recipe (serves 6 - 8). You will need about 1 hour to make this soup.
What you need (ingredients) to make Roasted Miso Pumpkin Soup
1 regular sized butternut pumpkin (roughly 1 kg / 2 lb)
1 1/2 cups Cream
2 tablespoons Miso Paste
3 cloves garlic (chopped or diced)
1 large onion (chopped or diced)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 sprig of Thyme
Cilantro (Coriander) for garnish
Plain Greek Yoghurt
Chop butternut pumpkin into thick chunks and remove seeds. Set seeds aside for roasting later.
Steam pumpkin with skin on for about 15-20 mins in a double bamboo steamer or regular steamer. Pumpkin should be ready when you pierce a fork into the flesh and it feels soft.
In the meantime, wash and dry pumpkin seeds with a paper towel and lay out dried seeds on a tray over a non-stick mat (or baking paper). Sprinkle with sea salt.
Transfer the pumpkin onto a baking tray on top of a non-stick mat with skin facing up. Sprinkle some sea salt over and bake both seeds and pumpkin trays at 395ºF / 200ºC for about 20 - 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large pot on medium heat with olive oil and some butter. Add garlic and onion. Fry till soft (about 5 mins).
Add miso paste and fry for another 10 mins till combined. You may add 1 - 2 tablespoons of water if the mixture is too dry to fry. I find if you add enough oil and butter at the start, it will be ok.
Turn off the heat and remove pot from the stove and let it cool.
Pumpkin skin should be charred and roasted by now and the seeds should be dry and crunchy. If not, bake for another 10 mins till desired result.
Remove both trays from the oven and let it cool for about 15 mins.
Transfer charred pumpkin, garlic, onion and miso fry paste into a blender or food processor and blend till smooth. Add some cream or stock if you like to help with the blending. It should be a smooth puree.
Return blended puree back to the original large pot and turn heat on to high, add vegetable stock and thyme, stir as it heats up. About 5 minutes.
Once the pot reaches a near boil, turn heat to low, add cream and keep stirring to combine and let it simmer slowly in the pot.
Soup should be ready at this point to serve or you may keep it at low heat to keep soup warm till serving time.
To serve, sprinkle some toasted pumpkin seeds, a dollop of plain greek yoghurt and sprigs of cilantro.
This is perfect for winter. You may add more cream and pumpkin to vegetable stock ratio if you like a really thick soup. I find you can't really wreck a soup as long as you don't burn the soup on the stovetop. Make sure you use a low heat setting when you return the blended soup to the pot, always stirring and checking the bottom of the pot for any of that liquid potentially sticking to the base. If it is sticking to the base, it is too hot. Either remove from the heat and keep stirring or turn down the heat if not at lowest setting already.