I don't have very many memories of a cozy college dining hall. It's tough to find much comfort in plastic trays and fluorescent lights.
But there were some days that came close.
On those days, we'd leave class (where I almost definitely would have spent my time doing the crossword puzzle in the school paper), shiver through winter wind and snow across campus, and enter the warm dining hall, where curried pumpkin soup would be waiting for me.
If it was on the menu, I was having it. Warm, spicy, sweet...cozy and creamy.
Since then, I've made a few halfhearted attempts to recreate it, but it never quite turned out right. I gave up.
Then came Hurricane Sandy with her hidden blessings, and I rummaged around in my cupboards to see what would make a warm, cozy soup.
Pumpkin and coconut milk.
And thus, a miracle was born. I made curried pumpkin soup a la Busch dining hall.
And J proclaimed it, "Possibly the best soup I've ever had." Win.
Two of the ingredients come straight from a can and the whole recipe takes about 30 minutes. Double win.
Full of vitamins A and C, healthy coconut fat, spices with all sorts of wonderful properties...vegan. Win. Win. Win.
Curried Pumpkin Soup
2 tbsp vegan butter (or olive/coconut oil)
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
black pepper, to taste (we like a lot)
2 1/2 cups water + 1 large vegetable boullion cube (or 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth)
1 can pumpkin purée
2 bay leaves
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent. Then add the garlic, curry, cinnamon, and black pepper. Cook, stirring, for an additional minute or so on low heat.
2. Add the water, boullion, pumpkin, and bay leaves. Stir to mix, and heat on high until soup comes to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. Add the coconut milk, heat on high, and bring back to a boil. Then turn off the heat. (Don't worry if the coconut milk isn't smooth...the blending will take care of it.)
4. Remove the bay leaves. They'll be hard to see, but a few scoops from the bottom should bring them up. Then very carefully use an immersion blender to blend the soup until very smooth.
Wonderful served with pine nuts and homemade bread.