So it’s the new year, and we’re officially deep in the winter months. Though the last few days in the Bay have started to get a bit warmer, we’ve had some of the coldest days I’ve experienced since living here in the last couple of months. Our garden froze over – destroying some of our succulents and tipping over my baby brassicas (don’t worry, they’re mostly fine now), and each morning every blade of grass in the yard sparkled with ice.
When it’s cold out, I personally can’t get enough soup. I love soup at almost any time of year, and I often joke that I could have soup for every meal. But in the winter sometimes I’m serious, and I do have it at every meal! That being said, soup isn’t limited to just cold weather.
Have you ever noticed that even in parts of the world that remain warm year-round, soups and stews are staple foods? Thailand has coconut curry, tom yum, and tom kha; Vietnam has pho; India has stewed legumes and meats; nearly everything in Ethiopia is stewed with rich sauces; Mexico has menudo, tortilla soup, and pozole, and the list goes on and on.
Why is this?
Soups have greater function than just warming the body — in fact, in warmer parts of the world, not only are they hot in temperature, they’re often extremely spicy, causing the eater to sweat, thereby cooling the body instead of warming it as the sweat evaporates off the skin. Soups also function as an ingredients-stretcher. Maybe there’s a bit of meat, a bit of veggies, some fresh herbs, and that’s it. Soup! Maybe there’s a bit of way too many things, and they all need to be used before they go bad. Soup! (I call that particular model “Kitchen Sink Soup.”) With just the right touch, you can make nearly anything delicious in soup form. Last week’s recipe focused on the health benefits of broth. Well guess what broth’s great for!
It’s easy to associate pumpkins with fall, but they’re actually in season for quite a while afterwards. I absolutely love using winter squash in cooking, especially when I’m making a lot of food at once. Whether its kabocha squash in a thai curry, spaghetti squash quiche, butternut squash soup, roasted acorn squash, or stuffed delicata, cooking with winter squash is a good way to ensure that you’re getting a nutrient-dense source of carbohydrates in a delicious package.
Fun facts about pumpkin:
- Rich in both vitamin A and beta carotene, (which can convert to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is great for cardiovascular health, skin health, and eye health)
- Full of healthy antioxidants and phytochemicals to help ward off harmful free radicals
- Full of fiber, which keeps you full longer and helps you go #2 as long as you’re well-hydrated
- Easy to cook and freeze for later
- Absolutely delicious in a post-workout smoothie, and great for replenishing the body for muscle recovery
- Find out more about pumpkin and other winter squash in this awesome post at Health Perch
Looking for even more pumpkin-y goodness? Guess what, I have a whole eBook filled with recipes dedicated exclusively to pumpkin! DOWNLOAD IT NOW.
Here’s the recipe!
serves 4 as a main 6 as an app
- 1/2 medium pumpkin – roasted and peeled – or 2 cans/boxes (roasting a pumpkin is simple: cut half, remove the seeds, place in a pan face down with about 1/2 and inch of water and a table spoon of olive oil or butter, and roast on 375 for 30 to 40 minutes)
- 2 cans broth or water
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 tbs ghee
- 1 tbs rendered bacon fat
- 2 large sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 large sprigs fresh sage, chopped
- large pinch ground clove (a few shakes into the pot)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp REAL or sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- seeds of 1 pomegranate
- 4 to 6 slices cooked pasture bacon, chopped into small pieces
- Heat ghee and bacon fat in a large pot until gently melted
- Add in pumpkin, stirring in and breaking apart the large chunks into smaller ones
- add in the stock or water and let simmer for a few minutes until it looks like the pumpkin is quite soft (~5 minutes)
- add in clove, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and vinegar and let simmer a bit longer
- Using an immersion blender, begin to puree the mixture, slowly adding in the can of coconut milk and maple syrup
- Continue to pulse with immersion blender and add in fresh oregano and sage, incorporating them completely without cooking all the flavor out.
- Serve hot with bacon pomegranate sauté and/or a dollop of full fat organic greek yogurt
For the Sauté
- Reheat cooked bacon pieces, pomegranate seeds, and a pinch of salt
- Cook until fully incorporated, but don’t let the seeds get mushy (feel free to add in a little extra bacon fat or ghee if you want it to be more cohesive)
- Portion it out with the soup and serve warm
Looking for even more pumpkin-y goodness? Guess what, I have a whole eBook filled with recipes dedicated exclusively to pumpkin! DOWNLOAD IT NOW