PUMPKIN SAGE SOUP (vegan paleo)
Pumpkin has many uses and is very versatile in how you can cook it. This delicate tasting soup is a great addition to any holiday meal or can be accompanied by an organic greens salad and served as a light lunch. Since pumpkins are in season now, you do not have to wait for the holidays to enjoy them.
Serves 8 side dish sized portions, 4 entree sized portions. NOTE: this recipe includes the PUMPKIN SERVING BOWL to display it in as shown above in the picture.
2 small 5 to 6 pound organic baking pumpkins, wash well and scrub any dirt off (pick your pumpkins that are firm, bright colored, nice solid stem and stand upright-not leaning to the side)
2 cup organic almond milk (click here for the recipe)
1/2 cup organic raw whole cashews
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup organic sage leaves and stems rough chopped
1 cup water, divide into 4 parts
1 tsp. fresh ground pink sea salt
2 large sprigs of fresh organic sage for garnish
Take ONE of your pumpkins and split down the middle, remove the seeds and reserve to make roasted pumpkin seeds. Cut into 10 to 12 slices kinda like a cantaloupe. In a large crock pot, arrange pumpkin slices so the fit into the pot with the cover tightly on in. Add 1/2 cup water to the bottom and roast on HIGH heat for about 2.5hours or until the flesh is soft and the skin is wrinkled.
While your pumpkin slices are cooking, In a medium sauce pan, place almond milk and chopped sage in, stir well and place on simmer to reduce to 1/2 of original amount, stirring often (for about 1.5 hours). Remove from heat and allow to set for 1 hour, then drain well reserving the liqued, discard the solids. In your food processor grind the cashews to a fine meal, add the 1/4 water and grind to a fine paste, set aside.
Take your second pumpkin and prepare it to make a serving bowl by gently shallow cutting the top of the pumpkin around the stem down into the inside to about 1 inch from the outside edge (as if you were carving the top of a jack-o-lantern) to create your opening for your serving bowl, save the stem piece. With a large spoon, gently scrape the inside of the pumpkin to remove the web and seeds, reserve the seeds with you other pumpkin seeds for roasting. Be sure not to cut into the flesh too deep with the spoon but you want all the seeds and web to be removed. Rinse the pumpkin well.
When your pumpkin slices are finished cooking, remove them into a large bowl and cover, allow to rest for 20 minutes. Place your serving pumpkin into the crock pot standing up with the stem piece on the side of it, place 1/4 cup water into the pumpkin. There should be some water in the bottom of the crock pot left over from your pumpkin slices, if not add 1/4 cup to the bottom of pot. Cover and steam for 40 minutes on high heat. It will be done when it is bright colored and slightly soft but not mushy, check in on it occasionally to be sure it is not over cooking. Gently remove from the crock pot and place on your serving platter
To prepare the soup. Remove the skin from each of the pumpkin slices and cut the flesh of each piece into 4 chunks. In a small food processor, blend small amounts (about 1 cup) of pumpkin chunks with 2 to 3 TBSP. of reduced almond milk and 1 TBSP water. Be sure to puree well and smooth, add more liquid if needed. Place each batch of pureed pumpkin into the sauce pan you will be heating your soup in. Continue until all the pumpkin chunks are pureed. Stir in sea salt, cashew paste and heat on low until hot, this is a thick soup. Your serving pumpkin should be ready by now, it will be bright colored and slightly soft but not mushy. Gently remove your serving pumpkin with pot holders and stem piece onto a serving platter. Fill the serving pumpkin with hot soup, arrange on the platter (serving suggestion is pictured above), garnish with the sage sprigs and serve. This will make a beautiful festive addition to any dinner.
NOTE: You can also do 8 mini single serving sized pumpkins the same way as the larger pumpkin described with in the recipe except only put 2 TBSP. of water into each and 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the crock pot, and adjust the cooking time of the serving pumpkins accordingly (about 25 minutes).