So here’s hoping everyone has a sense of humor as the good intentions that pave the road start to develop pot holes on the way to a place hotter than the kitchen. The * below indicates the pot holes in that road I’m building.
This is the first attempt to take a recipe, give credit back to the blog that published it, reproduce it as faithfully as possible (this is where the good intentions start to fail), actually eat it and make some notes about it.
The first honoree, some may think victim, is Savory Simple’s Curried Pumpkin Apple Soup. My attempt came out as, “A light touch of Southeast Asia with a mild heat towards the back of the mouth.” I hope that was at least close to the original version?
First, a thank you to Savory for giving me a use for the hand blender I had stuffed at the back of the furthest corner of the lowest, deepest, most obscure cabinet in the house. Thankfully, the 10 years of dust covering the original box, once freed back into the air, wasn’t enough to set off the smoke detector. And what a feeling being that close to a semi-protected sharp blade spinning faster than a car engine, which literally tried to suck itself through the bottom of the pot when first turned on. Good thing the pot was heavy stainless. The pumpkin color blended nicely with the existing wall color thus saving me hundreds of dollars for a painter doing a special speckled wall treatment. This is why I cook.
Deviations (not personal ones)
- used leeks
- used masaman curry paste
- used real cooked pumpkin
- used chicken stock
Deviations From Original
- used green onions
- used Thai red curry paste and additional spices
- used canned pumpkin
- used chicken broth
Ingredients – * indicates deviations from the original (and yes, the red color has special meaning)
1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin *
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small bunch green onions (white and middle green parts only) *
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 – 15 ounce can chicken broth *
1 – 15 ounce can light coconut milk
1/2 jar Thai red curry paste, about 2 ounces *
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon *
1 teaspoon ground cloves *
1 tablespoon ground cumin *
salt and pepper
Sauté the onion, garlic, and green onions in the olive oil in a 3 quart pot until soft for a few minutes. Add the apples and continue to sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and coconut milk. Stir in the curry paste making sure it dissolves. Add the pumpkin while stirring to a smooth consistency. Simmer the soup for 40 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, cloves and cumin near the end. Allow to cool some and blend with a hand blender until smooth. Reheat for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
The masaman curry paste was not to be found locally at 3 different stores. The original recipe has a link to Amazon for the masaman paste. Waiting 3 to 5 days for an ingredient to arrive is a great diet plan. However, I was hungry now. So I bought the red curry paste, which matched on 2/3 of the name, curry and paste. But, when I took a quick taste after adding it to the soup, I knew it wasn’t the answer. So off to the internet I went to find out what’s in masaman paste. That’s where the cinnamon, cloves and cumin (all found well aged and locally in my spice cabinet) got added to the ingredient list. The one thing that I was missing was cardamom. However, once the three out of four spices were added to the soup, just the aroma indicated this was the right thing to do. While we’re doing work arounds, the only thing the red curry paste seemed to add was a little heat. At around $4 for 4 ounces, the curry paste is a little pricey (Amazon is a little less expensive – as long a you don’t pay shipping). Adding some ground cayenne pepper would’ve done the same as the red curry paste without changing the flavor and saving a few dollars. Perhaps the masaman curry paste adds more to the flavor than the red curry paste?
The original recipe started by cooking a pumpkin. I have already done that once in my life, so it’s off my list. As for using canned pumpkin (which the original author suggests as a substitute), if it’s good enough for Bobby Flay (and it is), it’s good enough for me. The only question was, how many cans? I started low with one can, which proved to be just right.
As for using green onions and chicken broth versus leeks and chicken stock, I probably lost a little flavor in these substitutions. But that’s what I had around at the time.
If you don’t have a hand blender (or are frightened by the potential consequences after reading this), you can probably just mash up the apples before adding to the soup. After that a simple hand mixer should be good enough for the final blending at the end.
Even with the major substitutions the recipe turned out well. It’s certainly easy enough to make. The taste is definitely Indian-Thai in nature. With the measures and ingredients used here, it’s a mild tasting soup. That may be good for friends or family who will share the soup with you and don’t appreciate intense flavors. I was a little surprised that both the pumpkin and apple didn’t add much to the taste. The taste was all about the spices. The pumpkin and apple just seemed to provide the base. While not a “wow!” soup, it’s an interesting change. I have the masaman curry on my Amazon wish list for the next time.
One further note of caution, don’t use the hand blender to aerate the water in your tropical fish tank.
The celery does not naturally grow out of the soup.