Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tomato-Pumpkin Soup

It is snowing. Again. Fortunately, it is not too much. It is just pretty hard to believe that last year at this time I was cleaning the house with the windows open. This year, I have on thermal wear and sweats all while trying not to mess with the thermostat. The thermostat is the Bear's thing. Not mine. Nope. Even though he says it is okay if I turn up the heat, I'd rather play it safe and not even look at it. 

While it is unseasonably cold, I still get excited about soup. Nothing warms body and soul like a comfy bowl of soup. Recently, I've been experimenting with pureeing different vegetables together. For example cauliflower and potatoes. Today it is tomatoes and pumpkin. Besides the title of this post, would you have ever guessed there's pumpkin in that bowl? The pumpkin really compliments the tomato in this recipe. It adds a creaminess without any dairy that mellows the acidity of the tomato. And, dare I mention the extra vitamin boost that your kids and husband would never notice? Why make the stuff in the can when you can have your own, healthier version ready in under half an hour? Yes friends, tomato soup just got amped!

Tomato-Pumpkin Soup

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup carrot, finely chopped
1 28 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can pureed pumpkin
1 bay leaf
4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat a large soup pot on medium-low heat. Swirl the olive oil in the bottom of the pot. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until the onion begins to turn translucent in color. Add the celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, another 5-6 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. If you find that they are sticking to the pan, add a few tablespoons of the chicken stock and stir to loosen the vegetables from the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf with a spoon. If you have an immersion blender, you can puree the soup directly in the pot. If you are using a blender or food processor, let the soup cool for 15-20 minutes before blending or processing so you do not have a soup explosion.

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