It seems that every ethnic group has their threesome when it comes to food. The Italians have their holy trinity of onions, celery, and carrots. The French call the same threesome mirepoix. Native American Indians have their threesome too and they are squash, corn, and beans which they call the three sisters.
November is Native American Heritage Month. Is there anyone who isn’t making a pumpkin pie or carving a pumpkin for their doorstep in November? In the following recipe, I focus on Native American pumpkin soup.
Native Americans still revere pumpkins to this day and use them in breads, stews, and many other recipes.
I’ve used pumpkins in pies and in breads. Today is a first for me because I am using it in a creamed pumpkin soup for this New Food Friday.
I was fortunate in that I was able to find what is called a “pie pumpkin”.
This is a small pumpkin, perfect for making a pumpkin pie from scratch or for using it as a soup dish! However, I will be using the pumpkin IN the soup dish rather than the other way around!
2 Tablespoons corn oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds peeled and seeded pumpkin
cut into cubes (4 cups)
1 cup sweet corn, (frozen is fine)
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon toasted, chopped hazelnuts per person
1/4 cup black beans per person
Crack, then toast the hazelnuts in an oven or in a cast-iron skillet. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. If they burn, you’ll have to throw them out because they’ll become bitter! When they’ve cooled, chop and set aside.
The Black Beans
I buy most of my beans by the bag. Canned beans have too much sodium. If you want to see weight loss, reduce your sodium. There is a minimal amount of sodium in packaged beans. Sodium makes your body hold on to water. Reducing sodium in your diet is an easy way to quickly lose a few pounds, not to mention lower your blood pressure. All you have to do is soak the beans overnight OR, cook them in water for 1 hour. Just follow package directions. I usually soak them then put the beans in jars and freeze them for when I need them so that I always have them on hand.
The Chicken Broth
I had roasted two Cornish game hens in celebration of my birthday last week. I saved the carcasses and the thigh meat and made a broth with it. I added celery, carrots, onions, thyme from my garden, ground sage, 2 bay leaves, parsley, salt, pepper, and about eight cups of water or enough to cover everything. I used only the broth liquid for the pumpkin soup recipe.
I wash all my fruits and vegetables in warm soapy water and then rinse well. You don’t know where they’ve been or who touched them last, the mom with a sinus infection, (very contagious) or the little kid who scratched an itch you don’t want to know where. Better to be safe than sorry, especially knowing all the recalls like salmonella, e. coli, and other food alerts. I receive multiple email alerts daily that I signed up for from the government so it is best to take precautions and avoid getting sick.
One cup of pumpkin has 394mg of Potassium. Potassium reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive disorders, and infertility.
Pumpkin falls into the squash family and it has a medium hard outer skin, not to mention the stem on top where the vine was sending nutrients to the pumpkin. If you can’t knock the stem off by banging it on the counter, then cut the top part of the pumpkin off carefully. I usually do this with a paring knife but use whatever is easiest for you. (I’ve practiced a lot on butternut squash which has a very hard skin.) Stab the pumpkin with the knife (don’t worry, it doesn’t feel anything) and press down on the knife. Once you split the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds.
If you’re feeling ambitious, save the seeds. You can toast them and eat them as a nutritious snack! Cut up and cube the pumpkin so that you have 4 cups.
Coat the pumpkin, the chopped onion, and the corn kernels with the oil and add them to a pan to roast. I use my toaster oven for this and I line my pan with parchment paper. Roast at 400 degrees until the pumpkin is slightly browned, about 15 minutes but it depends on your oven so watch so it doesn’t burn. Once it’s cooked, add all the vegetables except for the corn and pumpkin seeds to a large pot scraping up the all the browned bits. If a few corn kernels get in the pot, don’t worry about it. I like to pour some of the chicken stock into the emptied vegetable pan as it acts like wine, de-glazing all the browned bits which have a lot of flavor. Add the rest of the chicken broth to the pot. Puree with an immersion blender which is great for making creamed soups or use whatever kitchen appliance you have for the same purpose. When you’ve pureed it enough, then add the roasted corn. You want the corn kernels to be whole in your soup.
To serve, reheat and pour into soup bowls. Garnish with a tablespoon of the chopped hazelnuts. Sprinkle with a ¼ cup of the black beans and/or a few toasted pumpkin seeds.
This is a delicious light soup, perfect for a cold, damp day (like today). My chicken broth was already spiced and herbed to my liking so I didn’t need to add anything else to the soup except salt and pepper. However, if you would like, you can add oregano or mint. Some recipes I’ve seen added maple syrup to this soup, but you know me, I always go for the lowest in calories and the most healthful as possible and I did not want a soup that was too sweet. I thought this was perfect and I would definitely make it again. Let me know if you try it!