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Saturday, November 8, 2008

'Tis the Season

Halloween came and passed without my vigorous participation this year (again) as I was on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, working. I was a bit disappointed that no one even noticed that I was wearing my special "Batty" Halloween t-shirt (which for full disclosure I thought meant "a little bat" when I bought it). And since I was 5,000 miles too far to participate in the annual pumpkin carving event at my house, you get a pumpkin picture from last year.

Inspired by Halloween, fall, pumpkins at the grocery store and most of all, by an oh so yummy pumpkin soup ("sopa de zapallo") I had at the El Adobe restaurant (pictured here with my bowl of soup) in San Pedro de Atacama, this pumpkin soup will warm you up on a chilly autumn night. Instead of the usual flavor pairing of with nutmeg and other pie-reminescent spices, here pumpkin is paired with thyme and parsley and a generous addition of black pepper gives it some extra heat:

Pumpkin Soup

2 C water
2 C pumpkin puree (one 14 oz can)
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp thyme, fresh or dry, chopped
1 -2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 C milk
5-10 whole black peppercorns
a little olive oil
salt to taste

Saute the onion with a little olive oil for a few minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, thyme and peppercorns, stir, saute for another minute. Add the pumpkin pure, stir. Add the water, stir. Add the salt and taste. Bring to boil, turn down the heat and simmer for ~5-10 minutes. Let it cool down for a few minutes and then blend it up. Return to the stove, add the milk and bring to boil again. Serve warm, with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of parsley, maybe some freshly ground black pepper and some bread. Feeds approximately 4.

Enjoy! I hope it warms you up as much as it warmed me in San Pedro. For the record, I begged the waiter for the recipe, but he wouldn't cave in. The recipe above is based on a pumpkin soup listed on but it tastes pretty close to the real thing.

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