Let it snow?

Hard to believe that on thursday we were hiking in crisp, sunny fall weather. It’s been snowing here since Friday – the first big winter storm of the season. Winter storm in early October? You know what I am going to say – this is Montana. My family has spent the weekend catching up together after a hectic couple of weeks, nesting at home while the snow falls outside. We snuggled up by our first fire of the season, read lots of books and magazines, and I’ve been cooking up a storm. Despite the wintery weather, pumpkin has been the predominant theme. It may be snowing outside, but the calendar says October. I typically kick off my favorite couple of months with a big shift in the ingredients I use in my cooking, and nothing says fall more than an infusion of pumpkin. Pumpkin is rich is carotenoids, which neutralize free radicals, and beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant. Not up for skinning a fresh one? Canned pumpkin appears to have much more vitamin A than fresh-cooked pumpkin. This may be due to the fact that canned pumpkin has more water cooked out of it than boiled pumpkin, and the varieties used for canning have intense orange color, a sure sign of carotene. Pumpkin is a good source of fiber, and adds a little iron and folate to your diet too. 

Here’s one of my fave fall soups that is super easy and healthy:
Curried Pumpkin Soup
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder (add more to taste)
  • 3-3 1/2 cups (more if needed) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup (or more to taste) frozen corn
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes plus juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 cup (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Cook’s notes: 
  • When buying canned pumpkin, avoid those with added sweeteners, spices and artificial preservatives. 
  • Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth, for a vegetarian soup
  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and bell pepper; saute until veggies begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add curry powder and stir one minute. Add broth and next 4 ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer at least 15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently. 
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with cheese. 
Make a double batch and freeze it for an easy weeknight dinner. Anyone else have some yummy pumpkin recipes to share?