Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Peanut Soup

My first try at Pumpkin Soup went so well, that I decided to try another recipe. I found this recipe for Pumpkin Peanut Soup in Cheap. Fast. Good! by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross. The idea behind the cookbook is to "eat like a big spender for just a few dollars". This cookbook is packed with tons of tips for how to plan smart, shop smart, and cook smart and boasts 275 delicious, thrifty, family-friendly recipes.

I enjoyed the soup, but not as much as the Pumpkin Corn Soup from earlier this month. If I make it again, I'll make some adjustments, most importantly, thinning this soup. It was pretty thick! Two of my friends happened to be visiting when I pulled this from the stove-top. I recruited them as taste-testers. While they both appreciated the flavor, one of them commented that she felt like she was eating "baby food". That observation stands to reason, with both pureed sweet potatoes and pumpkin making up a large portion of the ingredients here. Admittedly, it was the same color and texture of many types of Stage 1 baby food, although the flavor was much more intense and complex. Each of my kiddos and one of their friends tasted it, and none of them were big fans. After dinner, I ended up freezing the remainder into single serving portions for quick lunches for myself since it appears that I'm the only one who is going to eat it.

I really like the idea of pumpkin peanut soup. It's packed with vitamins, fiber, and even protein and it's relatively low in fat in spite of the peanut butter. This one had an Asian flair with the addition of a soy-ginger peanut sauce, but if you Google "Pumpkin Peanut Soup" you will find a number of recipes, all of them different.

I began making this soup by preparing the Thai-Style Peanut Sauce. In Cheap. Fast. Good! this very same peanut sauce is used as the basis for soup, stews, noodle dishes, salad dressing, dips, and if I am to add my own would work as a tasty marinade or grilling sauce for chicken too. The sauce recipe makes enough for the soup with extra to freeze for use in a later recipe. I love the idea of prepping ahead! There are a dozen ingredients in this sauce, but it's easy to prepare!

I just dumped all of the ingredients together...

then went at it with my Cuisinart CSB-76 Smart Stick Hand Blender. It's one of my favorite kitchen tools! It does the job of a blender, but I only need to wash one little blade when I'm through. Of course, you can use your blender or food processor for this step too.

While I was busy blending, my toddler was busy too...pouring out all of the garlic powder, smearing it around on the table, brushing it onto the floor, and oh yeah, licking it off of her hands! That is some serious baby dragon breath, by the way! Ahhh, the joys of cooking with kids.

Once I cleaned up the garlic powder, I set aside one cup of the peanut butter sauce for my soup and put the remainder in the freezer. Have you seen these Ball 82000 8-Ounce Plastic Freezer Storage Containers, 30-Pack? I love em' for freezing individual portions and sauces like this one.

With the "peanut" part of the soup complete, I prepped the sweet potatoes. I used 2 large sweet 'taters, peeled and cut up. You can microwave em', bake em', or boil em'. Whatever your chosen method, cook until tender. This would be a great way to use up leftover baked sweet potatoes!

Puree the sweet potatoes with a cup of chicken or vegetable broth. Again, I used my Cuisinart CSB-76 Smart Stick Hand Blender.

Next, melt a tablespoon of butter in a soup pot and add a small diced onion. Saute until the onion begins to soften.

Gather your peanut butter sauce, sweet potato puree, and canned pumpkin.

Add them to the onion in your soup pot with the remainder of the broth. Stir until combined, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Stir occasionally for the next 10 minutes or until you're ready to serve the soup.

Before serving, stir in 3/4 cup of half and half or milk. I added skim milk, because that's all I had in the fridge. If you use skim, low-fat, or whole milk, be sure not to allow the mixture to boil again after the addition of the milk or the soup can separate.

I garnished mine with some chopped peanut and cilantro. I ate a whole bowl and liked it. It's hearty enough to be dinner on it's own, maybe with some crusty bread for dipping...but it would make for a good starter or side soup too.

Here's my daughter's portion...untouched. Oh well. The author of this recipe recommended calling it "Jack-o-lantern Soup" to get your kids to eat it. That didn't work on my kids. I have to give them both credit for at least trying it before forming an opinion, though.

Here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Peanut Soup adapted from Cheap. Fast. Good!

Serves: 8 Start to Finish: Under 20 minutes (if you've already prepped the peanut sauce and sweet potatoes)

Thai-Style Peanut Sauce:

Makes: About 2 cups Prep Time: 10 minutes

4 cloves garlic, peeled
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 teaspoons finely minced ginger or ginger paste
1 tablespoon red wine or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Add all ingredients to a food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender and process until smooth.

Refrigerates and freezes well.

*Notes: I used 1-1/2 teaspoons of bottled lemon juiced because when I grabbed for a lime, it was hard as a rock and juiceless. I used garlic powder instead of onion powder...only because I didn't read the recipe very well. : )

For the Soup:

1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion (for about 1/2 cup chopped)
3 cups cooked peeled sweet potatoes (about 2 large)or 1-29 oz. can sweet potatoes(not in syrup or rinsed if in syrup)
28 oz. fat free chicken or vegetable broth
1 can (16 oz.) pure pumpkin
1 cup Thai-Style peanut sauce (recipe above)
3/4 cup half and half or milk

1. Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add chopped onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile prepare sweet potatoes.

2. Process the sweet potatoes and broth (with immersion blender, stand blender, or even a mixer) until smooth.

3. Add the remaining broth to the soup pot. Add the sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and peanut sauce. Stir well, then cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes or until ready to serve.

4. Just before serving, remove from heat and stir in the half and half or milk.

*Notes: I would add more broth and or milk to make this soup thinner next time.** I used skim milk rather than half and half.*** Garnish with chopped peanut and cilantro if desired.


Mary | Deep South Dish said...

Sounds wonderful Krista! I haven't delved into the world of pumpkin soup yet. This sure seems like a a loveable combo though.

Kristen said...

I cook with kids too so I totally get the 'helper chef' in the kitchen - cute!

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