So, I was biking along on a Saturday morning and what did I spy in the ditch? A runaway pumpkin! What more could I want out of life. I'm sure it escaped from a truck on the way to the farmers market. It was a lovely little pie pumpkin that suffered a hairline fracture when it fell. I rescued it...only to take it home, scoop out its guts, and slip it into the oven (lightly coated with oil, face down) for about an hour, until the flesh became tender.
Then I scooped out the meet and stuck it in a storage container. It was only then that I asked myself: okay, now what?
So, I made pumpkin butter (see my Autumn Harvest Butter). Only there was still pumpkin left.
Then I made this soup. The smoky chipotles compliment the sweet molasses and the lentils help thicken the soup and add a bit of protein. You can skip the cayenne if you want to make it a little less spicy, but I love having it in there. There isn't a lot of bite to the soup as its currently written (but note: I have a high spice tolerance), but if it's too much, you can smooth it out and tone it down with a dollop of yogurt (or sour cream) on top.
I serve this with fresh, whole grain bread usually, but if bread isn't your thing, then you could easily couple it with a side of a sauteed green or roasted Brussels sprouts.
Pie pumpkins differ from other types of pumpkins in that the flesh is a little sweeter and they tend to be less fibrous. But, if you've got another pumpkin handy, just use that. It should work out about the same--and don't get rid of those seeds. You can roast them with salt and/or spices, or you can candy them! Consider serving a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds on top of this thick soup.
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
3 tablespoons split red lentils
15 ounces 100% pure pumpkin or fresh, roasted pumpkin
4 cups water
1 tablespoon (or to taste) chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
1 tablespoon molasses
¼ teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Yogurt or sour cream (optional, garnish)
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion and celery in the oil until onion begins to turn golden. Add garlic and ginger, sauté for 1 minute. Add red lentils and sauté 30 seconds. Add in the pumpkin, water, chipotle, molasses, and cayenne. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup mixture, then stir in the cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to heat once more. Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, if desired.