Pumpkin, coconut milk and tarragon is all you need
I remember going grocery shopping and rudely overlooking the pumpkins. I don’t appreciate the thought of battling in my kitchen with a hard green skin and extra firm orange flesh risking a finger. Or worst, a nail. The local pumpkins here are the kabocha or Japanese pumpkin variety, which besides being pretty challenging to chop, they tend to be big and uneven. So thanks but no thanks I used to think around those novel days when I was just married and cooking was somehow optional.
A daughter later and I have been cooking with pumpkin quite a lot. As you may know by now, my mom and I prepare everything that she eats. Because of her genetic condition it’s super important that she always has the best nutrition so she can thrive, grow and be happy. And the girl loves pumpkin. So I started cooking pumpkin 3 to 4 times per week. That hard green skin and extra firm orange flesh will not intimidate me anymore!
One day I was cleaning up after cooking different foods for a couple of days for her, so everything was out of place and the food processor was already over the counter. I saw some pumpkin pieces left and thought what the heck, the pumpkin is here and the food processor is already out of its dark and forgotten corner, let me do us some of that. That was the first time I made a pumpkin soup, and I always think of that moment as the time I started to merge what I was doing (and still do) with my daughter’s foods and ours, which happily led me to create this blog.
This pumpkin soup is what everyday cooking should be about. Simple but unexpected ingredients and easy steps becoming a delightful dish. The key here is to let the pumpkin concentrate its flavor by letting the water evaporate almost completely. Since there are only three ingredients you want every one of them to shine on its own light. That’s why it is a good idea to add some tarragon stems after the second boil of the pumpkin, that way you create different depths of flavor.
To give it some texture I topped it with fresh burrata and black sesame seeds, but you may use whatever you like to top your soups or salad to give them some crunch and extra flavor. Isn’t this easy? I’m sure it will become a favorite of yours!
1. You need to use the kabucha or buttercup style of pumpkin. Other squashes have too much water and they are not as sweet.
2. It's important to let the water evaporate almost completely, about ¾ of it, in order to concentrate the flavor of the pumpkin.
3. I used regular coconut milk because that's what I had at hand and the result was a very creamy soup. You may use light coconut milk for a lighter version.
Pumpkin, tarragon and coconut milk soup
About 4 cups
Total time - 40 minutesActive time - 10 minutes plus time chopping the pumpkin
Equipment - Immersion blender or regular blender
Pumpkin, chopped in approximately 1” cubes - 1 lb., ½ medium pumpkin approximately
Tarragon stems - 6 to 8 + 2 more for the end of cooking
Coconut milk, regular for a creamier soup - 1 cup
Fine sea salt – 1½ Tsp + more for adjusting flavor at the end
In a large pot put the pumpkin cubes and pour over some water just enough to barely cover them. Add the salt and dunk in the tarragon stems. Bring to a boil in medium to high heat and let it cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until they are tender, have a darker orange color and most of the water has evaporated, moving the pumpkin around once or twice while cooking. Fill the pot with some extra water, no more than half way through the pumpkin pieces and then dunk in the extra tarragon stems. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes more.
Take off the heat and decrease it to simmer. Remove about 1 cup of water from the pot. If there’s a little water left just remove enough so you are left with around ¼ of the pot water. Remove the tarragon stems and using an immersion blender puree the pumpkin until there are no lumps or fibers floating in the liquid. (Start with a low speed so the pumpkin doesn’t spatter all around, then when everything is starting to integrate well increase the speed so the pumpkin ends up well pureed.) Pour the coconut milk and pulse a couple more times. Add 1 or 2 fresh tarragon stems if desired (remember to take them out them before serving). Return to the burner and heat for 5 minutes more. Serve with your preferred toppings and crusty bread.