Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

I hope you don't think I've been ignoring you guys. I've just been having some technical difficulties. While I was working on my desktop one day last week, I returned from a half hour break to find it unresponsive. Upon restarting, it asked me for a boot disk. It no longer thinks it has a hard drive.

Fortunately, I was prepared for this sort of disaster on the dissertation front. I use Dropbox for all my files - not only does that make it easier to work on the same files on multiple computers, but it also means that all my stuff is backed up online. I didn't lose a word of the work I had been doing. The files that are potentially lost (though I've been told there is a possibility that they might be recovered at some point) are all my pictures. I also lost access to my photo editor, Adobe Lightroom.

After a week or so of inactivity (one day I'll give in and take the computer over to Best Buy), I decided that I need to move on. I loaded Lightroom onto my laptop and uploaded the contents of my camera (gotta love memory cards - those pictures go back to October!). In addition to recovering some great family photos, I found five blog posts' worth of shots waiting to be prettied up. You'll be hearing more frequently from me in the coming days.

I'm sure you're wondering why I'm giving you a pumpkin recipe in March. Well, as I mentioned in my last post, we've been working on clearing out our pantry and freezer, trying to feed ourselves using what we already have on hand. That includes multiple pumpkins that have been sitting down in the basement since the fall. I've been impressed at just how well these babies store - the last two have been hanging out down there for four months! I've primarily been using them for pumpkin puree, which I freeze and use in baked goods, but I set aside some whole chunks for this recipe.

This is a good one - warm, hearty and healthy. It's fairly similar to the New World Chili I posted back in October, but without the meat. The pumpkin is less sweet than most winter squash, so the soup gets a bit more depth.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup
Slightly adapted from The Rolling Prairie Cookbook.

3 tbsp olive oil
3 c pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4" chunks
1 onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 quart whole tomatoes, roughly chopped (I just slide a knife around in the jar to chop them a little, then break them up with a spoon once they're in the soup)
4 c vegetable broth
4 c cooked black beans
2 c frozen corn kernels
Greek yogurt and cilantro for garnish

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin and saute 8-10 minutes, until browned.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute 4-5 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the cumin, cinnamon, cloves, chili powder and salt and stir to combine. Add the pumpkin to the onion mixture, then pour in the whole jar of tomatoes and the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Add the beans and corn and simmer for another 20 minutes. Serve topped with Greek yogurt and cilantro.

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