In the fall of 2007 I studied abroad in Dusseldorf, Germany through my school’s film program. It was an amazing experience and one of my favorite parts of the trip was all of the German food that I got to eat. (Mmmm sauerkraut!) One day we were working with this German music professor at his home and, when it came time for lunch, his wife carried over this HUGE pot of pumpkin soup (the biceps on this woman must have been insane, I cannot emphasize how massive this pot was and how COMPLETELY filled it was with soup). She ran back to the kitchen and brought in a big basket of rolls from the bakery to go with it. That pumpkin soup is the best soup I’ve ever had to this day.
I wrote the professor an email asking for the recipe and he brought it to the final dinner party we had at the end of the program. It was entirely in German. Although my conversational German was okay, I had no idea what ginger root or boullion cubes translated to. So, my host mother was able to quickly translate the recipe for me before I left for my return to the states, and here it is, to be shared with you all! It’s a really healthy dish, and surprisingly filling for being vegan. I credit the tasty potatoes that are a staple of any good German dish. I also listed some optional non-vegan add-ins that you can put in, (namely bacon) if you want to make it a little less healthy 🙂 Also! If you want a slightly creamier autumn soup, I may just point your towards my Hungarian mushroom soup recipe (it contains delicious swirls of sour cream). Guten Appetit and happy autumn!!!!
German Pumpkin Soup
- 2 small baking pumpkins about 3 1/2 pounds each
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 Large Onion chopped
- 2 Large Potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 Large Carrots peeled and sliced
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1 Small Root of Ginger about 3 inches long, peeled and grated
- 1 Leek chopped
- 1 Large Tomato (or 2 small ones), chopped
- 3 Cloves Garlic minced
- 4 Cups of Water
- 2 Vegetable Boullion Cubes or whatever amount corresponds to 4 cups of water
- 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
- Flake kosher sea salt, to taste
- Sprig of an herb for garnish
- 4 Slices Premium Bacon (optional), fried until crispy and then diced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut one of the pumpkins vertically in half and scoop out and discard the seedy pulp. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet and rub the inside with a teaspoon of the olive oil. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a spoon to scoop out the tender flesh and place it in a heat-safe bowl. Set it aside.
Now take the other pumpkin and cut off the top as you would with a carving pumpkin. Use a medium sized spoon to scoop out all of the seeds pulp and discard it.
Sprinkle some salt inside the pumpkin and spread a tablespoon of olive oil inside of it and place the cap back on. Place this pumpkin in a casserole pan and roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the inside of the pumpkin is fairly soft and the outside has turned a deep orange color. Remove and set aside.
While the second pumpkin is roasting, heat the remaining olive oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until nearly transparent, about 10 minutes. Then add the potatoes, carrots and coriander. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and allow to cook for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes to cook the vegetables evenly.
Then add the garlic, ginger, leek, tomato, and the scooped roasted pumpkin bits and allow to cook for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes again. Add the water, boullion cubes, paprika, cloves and cayenne pepper and mix well. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Taste it and add salt if you'd like, then ladle it into a blender or food processor and make a puree of the soup. Ladle the pureed soup into the roasted pumpkin and serve it hot with a side of chopped cooked bacon (optional) and an herb sprig for garnish.