Velvety Pumpkin Soup
As you begin your holdiay cooking plans, I thought my creamy pumpkin soup inspired by the traditional Korean pumpkin porridge would fit right in your holiday/winter season. I go back to this recipe every fall with slights adjustments for different occasions. It is a naturally gluten-free and vegan dish, and keeps well in the freezer as a make-ahead item.
I use kabocha (aka danhobak 단호박 in Korea) for this pumpkin soup, my favorite winter squash for its packed savory sweetness, its bright orange-yellow color, and its ease of use in the kitchen. Since it is small enough, I boil the whole squash or put it in a microwave for a few minutes before I make anything with it since a softened danhobak is much easier to handle.
VELVETY PUMPKIN SOUP (단호박 스프 DANHOBAK SOUP)
Yield: 6 cups
½ cup short grain or medium grain white rice (aka sushi rice), rinsed in cold water
1 cup water
1 small kabocha (see step 2)
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups soy milk, almond milk, or regular milk
Procedure: 1. Soak rice in 1 cup water for 30 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Bring a pot with water to a boil. Wash a kabocha thoroughly and cook in boiling water until soft. Drain and cool for a few minutes until it’s easier to handle. Alternatively, put the kabocha in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Cut in half, scoop out and discard seeds. Scoop out 2 cups of kabocha flesh and reserve. The rest of the flesh can be put in a Ziploc bag and stored in the freezer for another use.
3. Blend together rice, its soaking water, and toasted pine nuts to a smooth consistency.
4. Bring the rice and pine nut liquid and salt to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly. The liquid will first thicken as big bubbles come up. As it cooks, it will start to loosen again, about 15 minutes.
5. Stir in the reserved kabocha flesh and add milk of your choice gradually to adjust the soup consistency. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring often. Taste to make sure everything is soft.
6. For a velvety smooth soup, let the soup cool for 10 minutes then blend one more time to a smooth consistency. If you make this soup ahead, keep it in the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator a day before you need the soup. Heat the soup in a pot, stirring often, before serving.