Tuesday, October 4

Solar Pumpkin-Peanut Soup

It's October and that means pumpkins dot our fields and fill our farmers markets. One of my favorite ways to serve a pumpkin soup is right in the pumpkin, itself. It's so festive and seems to make it taste even better. (I know it's psychological, but I enjoy the illusion.) For this year's soup, I decided to show you how much fun a solar oven can be -- not to mention, time-saving. So, two medium-sized pumpkins, one large sweet onion and two apples, as Mother Nature made them, went into the solar oven for roasting. What could be easier!

My local roadside market also had some hot boiled peanuts, so I decided to make them the filling protein in the soup. Some fresh pumpernickel bread with rich, creamery, butter (Hugh Jackman, where are you?) would make a great meal.  The solar oven got up to 300F and, within 70 minutes, the food was ready for peeling and processing. Using SolarWear(R) made it super easy.

I decided to serve samples of the soup at the Midtown Market and cooked it in quart jars. That made it interesting to my visitors but also very easy to carry about and, of course, the extras could be placed directly in the freezer when I got home.

Solar Pumpkin-Peanut Soup

2 whole small pumpkins
1 whole large sweet onion
2 whole medium granny apples
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Teaspoon canola oil
1/4 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup boiled peanuts, shelled and chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh chopped marjoram
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
1 teaspoon fresh chopped stevia
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon mace
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger (1/4 tsp.ground ginger)
2 teaspoons corn starch
6 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup cream
juice of one large orange
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  Place pumpkins, onion, and apples in solar oven to cook until soft. Other ingredients can be prepared while these are cooking.

In large heavy skillet over med-high heat, melt butter with oil. Saute shallots and garlic till softened and garlic begins to brown. Add chopped carrots, peanuts, and carrots; cook until soft.

In small bowl mix herbs and spices with corn starch until fully blended. [NOTE: Mixing dry ingredients with the corn starch makes thickening very easy and the corn starch won't lump.] Add to mixture in skillet and blend thoroughly.

Add vegetable broth, cream, orange juice, and cider vinegar, salt and pepper, to skillet. Bring to boil, cook for 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool.

Remove roasted pumpkins, apples, and onion from solar oven. Peel and chop onion; pare and chop apples; add to cooled ingredients. Cut a cap from pumpkin, remove seeds; gently scrape pumpkin flesh from inside and add to cooled ingredients. After mixing thoroughly, puree in processor, a little at a time, and pour into three quart jars. Hand-tighten cover and return to solar oven to cook until bubbles begin to rise.

Serve in soup bowls or pumpkin shells. 

This recipe is different from my earlier one and was closer to a vegetable pumpkin taste as opposed to a sweet pie taste. I hope you'll try it and let me know what you think.


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