Spiked Pumpkin & Mussel Soup with Coconut Cream
Autumn is here! And what better time to celebrate and welcome the cooler weather with the Thanksgiving staple, a hearty pumpkin soup.
Trivia: Pumpkin soup was a staple for prisoners of war during the Vietnam War.
Ideally, butternut squash is the most popular choice for pumpkin soup for its sweet and nutty flavor. In this recipe however, I used the calabaza variety (local in Florida), which is very much similar to butternut squash but a tad less sweet, which blends well with the natural salinity of mussels.
1 cup Onions (thinly sliced)
4 cloves Garlic (minced)
1/4 stick Butter
2 oz. Bourbon (I used Old Grand Dad 114) - feel free to double the pour!
1 lb. Mussels (pre-steamed just enough to open - save the juice!)
2 cups Chicken broth
1 cup Mussel broth (see directions below)
1/4 of a Calabaza (or any pumpkin of choice- chopped), or 1.5 lb. pack of squash
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
1/2 cup Coconut Cream (1/4 to mix, 1/4 to drizzle), you may substitute Heavy Cream
To taste Salt & freshly grounded Pepper
Garnish Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Garnish Oregano (or your aromatic of choice)
In a frying pan, melt the butter and sauté the garlic and the onions until brown - deglaze with bourbon to caramelize. Set aside.
In a dutch oven or any pot, add together the chopped pumpkin with the mussel and chicken broth. Simmer on low for about 12 minutes or until mushy.
Add in the caramelized garlic and onions plus 1/4 of the coconut cream to the pumpkin soup. Simmer on low for another 5 min.
Remove the soup from heat and carefully purée using a hand blender (or a masher).
Once puréed, put the soup back on the stove. Stir in the cumin, paprika and the mussels. Simmer for 5 more minutes and finish with salt & pepper to taste. *Mussels cook fast and are added last to avoid overcooking which makes them lose their delicate saline flavor when simmered too long with the soup.
Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 of the coconut cream, garnish with pumpkin seeds and oregano. Serve hot.
I love how the peppery and herbal notes of his Pikesville Rye compliment the richness and natural sweetness of the pumpkin soup. Sips in between spoonfuls are like welcome palate cleansers contrasting the sweetness & the spice.
Pikesville Rye 55% ABV