Jamaican-Style Pumpkin Soup
Whether serving the soup as a first course or a simple weeknight entrée with crusty bread, look for an off-dry, fruity Prosecco to pair. Hailing from Italy’s Veneto, the sweetness of the wine not only enhances the flavor of the squash, but it counters the heat of the scotch bonnets.
Since North Americans harvest pumpkins in the fall, the Caribbean islands, naturally, seem an unlikely source for great pumpkin recipes. Yet, from the Virgin Islands to Barbados to Nevis, this creamy squash is a popular crop. The type of pumpkin common in Jamaica, however, is closer in flavor to butternut, which can be swapped for this recipe. Otherwise, look in Latin specialty shops for the green-skinned Calabaza or Caribbean pumpkin. The vibrant orange flesh has a slightly sweet flavor, and is packed with antioxidants and vitamins. This recipe calls for pureeing the entire batch, but feel free to puree half, leaving whole pieces to float, as is typical in Jamaica.
Serves 3-4; Total time: 1 hour
3 Tbs coconut oil
2 large shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium or large carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green onions, chopped plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
2 bay leaves
3 sprig fresh thyme
¼ tsp ground allspice
1 or 2 fresh scotch bonnets (depends on tolerance for heat)
4 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
4 cups of peeled and seeded Jamaican pumpkin or butternut squash (about 1 lb of whole squash)
½ of a lime, juiced
½ cup coconut milk
Toasted pepinos, to garnish
1. Heat coconut oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, green onions, carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté until soft and barely golden, about 5-6 minutes.
2. Add remaining ingredients, except lime and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered for about 35-40 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
3. Discard bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and scotch bonnet. Using a stick blender in the pot, puree until smooth. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth (or use an immersion stick blender). Return soup to pot and season with salt and pepper, lime juice and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring to integrate, three to four minutes. Ladle into bowls; garnish with pepinos and parsley. Serve.