This spicy, warm pumpkin soup is just what your fall menu is calling for. Add deliciously fried polenta cakes in place of ordinary bread or biscuits, and you have an extraordinary winter dish.
There’s a certain, rather pleasant stereotype regarding the autumn season in New York. It’s a nostalgic yet thoroughly modern scene, city blocks lined with browning memorial trees blanketed in fog laden air, while the pedestrian crowds begin succumbing the first October chill, fading into their long coats and scarves. Each year, this metropolitan scene plays out as masterfully as if Stevenson himself had composed the plot and set the scene.
As a gourmet with an intentionally overdeveloped palate, and practiced appreciation for my trade, I like to think that the season’s flavors, particular to the New York region whose culinary culture is in a constant state of blissful flux, has at least something to do with it.
Take today’s offering for example, an autumn themed pumpkin soup, which pulls together and fuses a range of influences, from grilled jalapeno and marinated artichoke hearts, to ground cumin and oregano, to parmesan and fresh rosemary. For added measure, I like to serve this soup alongside a platter of homemade polenta cakes, which perfectly completes the autumn setting.
While this may not be the first thing you think of when you consider autumn in New York, I urge you to give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
10 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
- 1/2 red onion – grilled - sliced
- 6 oz. marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
- 3 large garlic cloves – grilled
- 1 bell pepper – grilled and sliced
- 1 jalapeño – grilled and chopped
- 29 oz. can cannellini beans – rinsed and drained
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 tsp. Vegeta
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 handful of fresh sage plus extra for garnish
- 1 stem of fresh rosemary
- Fresh grated Parmesan cheese or Romano
- Olive oil
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs – seasoned or plain
- 1 cup milk
- Handful of fresh basil leaves – chopped
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- Canola oil for frying
- Heat a large cast iron frying pan and place the unpeeled garlic cloves, jalapeño, bell pepper, and onion in the pan to grill. When the skin looks a bit charred, remove and let the veggies cool; then pinch the garlic from its skin and slice and chop the veggies
- Heat a sauce pot with two - three tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped veggies and the fresh rosemary and handful of sage and let sauté for a minute or two.
- Add the artichoke hearts with the marinade and the pumpkin and continue to gently simmer.
- Add the seasonings and the Vegeta; add the water and the beans and gently simmer on a low heat for 25 – 30 minutes.
- Heat a small frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and add a few leaves of fresh sage for a minute or two.
- Drizzle the oil and add the sage leaves to garnish each soup bowl, along with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper.
- In large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients and mix.
- In a smaller bowl combine the milk, eggs, chopped basil and Parmesan cheese and whisk.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.
- Heat a large cast iron frying pan over medium heat with a 1/4 inch of canola oil.
- Carefully spoon the batter into the pan and slightly flatten each with a fork. The oil should sizzle when the cakes are added. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- After 2 – 3 minutes; when the cakes are golden, carefully turn over and finish cooking on the other side.
- Line a platter with a paper towel to place the polenta cakes on when finished cooking.
- Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Enjoy with Love,