Pumpkin seeds are a great addition to this winter squash soup not only as a thickener, but for their health benefits. They are loaded with all of the B vitamins and also contain other essential nutrients including calcium, potassium, and iron. Additionally, they are a well documented source of zinc. Zinc is necessary for growth and development, and also benefits the immune system, and speeds up wound healing.
This winter squash soup is a great warming soup for fall and winter! Butternut and acorn squash work well in this recipe, but any variety can be used.
1 large winter squash (about 4 pounds)
1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
2 yellow onions, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 teaspoons yellow miso paste
1-1/2 tablespoons curry powder
3 tablespoons dry sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve the squash, remove the seeds and strings, and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. While the squash is baking, lay the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until fragrant.
In a skillet, sauté the onions and chile over medium heat in the olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes, add the garlic, and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until vegetables are soft but not browned.
When the squash is done, remove from the oven, let it sit until cool enough to handle, then scoop out the flesh. Use a blender or food processor to puree the squash, onions, garlic and chile together. Set aside. Grind 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds with 1/2 cup water in the blender to make a cream.
In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil. Dissolve the miso in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons of hot water. Add the pureed vegetables, miso, and curry powder to the soup pot, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pumpkin seed cream. Stir in the sherry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with remaining pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.
Photo credit: millcityfarmersmarket.com