It’s one of the ironies of being a new parent that even though we are spending more time than at any other point in our adult lives at home, we are finding it virtually impossible to do any cooking. Even when we do steal a few moments of quiet to get behind the burners, by the time the food is done, so is the nap our baby was taking. Of course, eating your dinner cold is nothing new to a food blogger – teasing the plating and getting just the right lighting usually takes a while – but at least we used to be able to eat our tepid meat and congealed sauce without the throaty vocal stylings of a five-week-old as an accompaniment.
Another delightful aspect of being a home-bound parent is that, when leaving the house involves assembling ten things, a stroller and an acquiescent child, one is motivated to make use of what is close at hand. In a moment of hunger-inspired desperation this past weekend, we took that maxim to its logical conclusion.
Literally lying beside our front door was a pair of pumpkins we had originally intended to carve for Halloween had our sculptural ambitions not been thwarted by the arrival of said infant. Still edible, they were quickly hacked, seeded and roasted in a hot oven with salt and pepper while the baby slumbered peacefully in his swing. In a “waste not, want not” moment, also into the oven went the pumpkin seeds seasoned with chipotle powder and brown sugar, emerging a scant twenty minutes later, crispy and snack-tastic. The baby, now stirring, its nostrils a-quiver.
From all of this, plus the contents of a still well-stocked spice rack and half a Mexican chorizo I rescued from a sad end in the depths of our refrigerator, came a pimentón-scented pumpkin velouté topped with sweet chipotle pepitas, crumbled chorizo and a sprinkle of black Hawaiian sea salt that I forgot we’d bought, somewhat curiously, in a supermarket in France last Christmas.
Even the abundant use of the stick blender failed to completely rouse our newborn, though, in his now-customary fashion, by the time we were seated at the table, spoons-at-the-ready, our charming little nipper was once again in full voice, sharing his anguish at his meager milk-based diet. Happily, this soup is just as good, if not better, when reheated the next day. A quality we might not have fully appreciated before now.
Pumpkin velouté with pimentón and chipotle
1 large pumpkin, with seeds
1/2 Mexican style chorizo
1/2 cup cream or sour cream
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoon pimenton ahumado (smoked Spanish paprika)
1teaspoon chipotle powder
2 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons cotija cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.
Cut pumpkin into large chunks (leaving skin on), and deseed it. Sprinkle pumpkin with salt and pepper. Rub pieces lightly with olive oil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until pumpkin starts to color a little.
On a separate oven tray, spread seeds and season with salt, pepper and chipotle powder. Place in same oven and roast for 20 minutes or until crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool fully before removing skin carefully with a paring knife.
In a blender, food processor or with a stick blender, pulse pumpkin, pimenton, brown sugar. Spoon in half the sour cream and milk, and re-pulse. Add chicken stock, pulse to combine. Consistency should be pretty thick. Add remaining milk and sour cream until soup is smooth but not gloopy. Return to the pot and bring to a simmer. Correct seasoning.
In a sauté pan, crumble chorizo and saute until cooked through. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chorizo crumbles, pumpkin seeds, cotija cheese and any thing else you think might be good.
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