Sweet Pumpkin + Sage + Red Onions
I’d been up since 3 AM, unable to sleep my mind jumped around – I could see the bags of apples at Charlton Orchards’ stand, the fluorescent romanesco called me over to Farmer Dave’s blue tent, the shinning smooth skin of the onions stretched translucent at Kelly’s Farm stand and the greens; of course the greens, at Mentor Flat’s Farm were too many to do justice in one summer, leave alone on the last day of the market.
Oh! What should I cook?
Giving up on sleep around 6:30 AM, the day broke and so did some caffeine-induced clarity. More than not knowing what to cook, I was more reluctant to say goodbye. The thought of not seeing my community for a season gave me shivers, more than even my denial that I’d be buying tomatoes from the store in the dead of winter. This community had nourished me in more than one way, giving me purpose, validating that it was safe to dream.
I greeted Adson Barbosa at Farmer Dave’s and asked him how the pumpkins looked, the sweet pumpkin was going to be perfect a soup. Armed with some sage and garlic as well, I headed to greet Sarah and Sabrina at Kelly’s Farm stand for some red onions and a bunch of fresh parsley from Fong at Flats Mentor Farm made up my 4 ingredients for the day. And lastly, Lauren, the owner of The Bread Shop had a specialty cranberry-apple sourdough loaf that helped customers soak up the soup from the tiny cups.
Being mindful of using as much of the veggies I could, as I prepped, I made a veggie stock that really helped add flavor to the soup.
5-6 cups chopped pumpkin pieces
1 medium onion diced
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. tamari soy sauce
3 tbsp. maple syrup
½ – ¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. crushed black pepper
For the Stock:
4-5 cups of water
1 cup pumpkin seed and pith
5-6 parserly stems
5-6 sage leaves or stems
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. crushed black pepper
- Clean and chop the pumpkin, scooping out the seeds and pith and reserving them for stock or if you wanted to roast the seeds later
- Dice the onion and finely chop the garlic and sage
- As you prep the vegetables, start a pot of water on the stove to make your stock, adding the pith from the pumpkin, the onion and garlic skins and some of the tough stems from the herbs
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, onions and sage leaves; stir-fry for 2 minutes
- Add the pumpkin, salt and pepper; stir and cover to cook for about 7-8 minutes, check on them and stir again
- Start adding the stock to the pan, straining it as you pour it into the pan
- Cover and cook for about 10-12 minutes – the time to cook the pumpkin will depend on their size and the quantity you’re using
- As the pumpkin pieces soften, mash them against the pan using a wooden spoon, add the maple syrup, vinegar, and taste to adjust any seasonings
- Add some more stock and let it simmer for about 10-12 minutes
- If you want to blend the soup, turn off the heat, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup, add more stock to adjust thickness
- Simmer the pureed soup for a few minutes, adjust any seasonings and serve
The sweet of this soup is offset beautifully by the salty and sharp parmesan, a couple of fried sage leaves and some crusty bread makes it a really satisfying meal.
On a last note, the way this rustic ‘soup’ turned out at the market, it would also make a great pasta sauce for the fall. I say, why only stuff the pumpkin into the pasta, let it shine outside too!