A SOUP FOR THE SEASON
I don’t know that there’s anything original about this hearty vegan recipe (you know, ‘nothing new under the sun’ and all), but I think it’s a great fit for autumn. Thanks to R.’s great taste in cookware, I have the advantage of having worked this recipe out in a La Creuset round French oven (I think it’s a 5 1/2 quart). There’s no substitute for having excellent tools. However, don’t let your lack of this hardware stop you. Any large soup pot should do.
Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup
1 can (15 oz.) black beans
1 5lb. pumpkin
2 medium tomatoes, or 1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
32 oz. vegetable broth (I prefer Imagine Foods No-Chicken Broth)
1 Fresno red chile pepper, chopped (don’t remove seeds and veins if you like the heat)
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
pinch each of oregano and basil
salt and pepper to taste
Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds and membrane. Cut into slivers and trim away rind, then cut meat into smaller chunks (no larger than two to three inches each). In large soup pot, saute garlic, onion, chile pepper, and spices in a bit of olive oil until garlic starts to brown. Stir in tomatoes and cilantro. Add pumpkin pieces and stir. Add black beans and stir. Add broth and stir. Bring to low boil, then cover tightly and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes (if you’re short on time, cook at least until pumpkin pieces are easily mashed with a spoon). Allow mixture to cool. Remove in batches and puree in blender (pour puree into bowl or second pot until last batch). Return soup to pot, stir, and return to heat (add salt and pepper if desired). When soup reaches desired temperature, serve it up.