So it's the day after a very widely anticipated holiday. You're essentially pregnant with a small holiday roast beast and growing a small tree of peppermint bark in your belly. Not to mention all those cocktails...
"Hypothetically" speaking, you made Audrey Griswald in European Vacation look like a chump. Hypothetically.
But, no regrets. By definition, a holiday is an opportunity to shatter the normal routine -- a day set aside to let the mind rest, be with the people you care about and collectively indulge in good company over equally as good food.
The downtime before New Years presents an ideal opportunity to give your stomach a quick break; however, it can be done without dropping the holiday cheer that is inevitably tied to the happiness of digging into peaks of homemade mashed potatoes or finishing that third glass of egg nog -- only after dunking an army of ginger men in said nog. There's no need to subsist on celery sticks and raw crudite today when you could be cooking up something so much more satisfying, and equally, if not more so, healthy and nutrient dense.
So, whether you're reading this during an intermission before New Year's or after the New Year's celebratory debauchery has come and gone, consider this a very viable solution for 'the morning after' mistress of indulgent dining and extravagant celebrations with flowing libations. Lazy late December days never looked better with a bowl of this stuff. It's sweet and spicy notes provide those classic holiday flavors you're still craving while the squash keeps things hearty and quite filling. Although, I guarantee you'll be going back for a guilt-free second bowlful.
And yes, the recipe can be doubled. I also highly recommend you do. Saving some in the fridge or freezer will most certainly make New Year's resolutions that much easier to uphold.
If you're in the Midwest trapped inside amidst a blizzard at the moment as I am -- this is the perfect soup if you've any kind of squash or canned pumpkin on hand. Cozy up next to the fire with a bowl tonight or tomorrow.
Pumpkin and Honey Soup
Serves between 4-6
I love this with a few green on top and even with a scoop of brown rice or quinoa for some extra fiber.
1/2 medium size kabocha squash or sugar pumpkin, roasted
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 T. good honey, extra for drizzling
A Splash of dry white wine
4 C. vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 T. pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 T. cumin
2 t. nutmeg
1 t. ground cloves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 C. almond milk
1/4 C. plain greek yogurt (I like Siggi's), optional
Greens for toppping (arugula, spinach, mache), optional
Other topping like pepitas, pomegranate seeds, sliced almonds, plain greek yogurt, etc.
Pre-heat a 400F oven and roast the squash in large pieces in skins for about 20 - 30 minutes, or just until tender. This can be done ahead and kept in the fridge for a few days. Before preparing the soup, remove the skins and scoop out the flesh into a bowl and cut roughly into large chunks . Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in medium size pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and add onion. Add a pinch of salt to sweat the onion and cook until translucent. At this point, add the honey and allow the onions to caramelize. The pan should also be on high heat. Deglaze the pot with the splash of white wine (one quick circle around the pan) half of the stock and scape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining stock. Add the almond milk, pumpkin and spices. Stir, cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a blender -- work in batches if need be. Blend until smooth, adding additional stock or almond milk if you feel the consistency is too thick.
Transfer back to pot and heat through on the stove and whisk briefly. Add a 1/4 C. of plain greek yogurt if you're looking for even more more creaminess. Top with desired garnishes and serve.
A final note: If you find the the soup is too thick after blending, feel free to make adjustments and add more water, stock or milk, as you find fit. On a similar subject, give or take on the spices to your taste. I often find i add extra cumin and nutmeg, but do as your please and eat what you like -- that's what cooking is about anyway!