Jamaican pumpkin soup tells G. I love him

A bowl of Jamaican Pumpkin Soup, adapted from The Daily Soup.

This blog has convinced my family and friends that I can cook, and certainly, working on it has improved my cooking. But sometimes, things still don’t go right.

I’ve had two recent kitchen disasters, with persimmon pudding and a galette from one of my new cookbooks. In both cases, I threw the results out. I hate to waste food, but I just couldn’t stomach it, and neither could G.

It was particularly disappointing because I haven’t had a lot of time to cook or blog lately. Among other things, G. had sinus surgery. It was a breeze, as far as surgeries go, but then he developed complications. He got a blood clot in one sinus and a hematoma, which is essentially a pool of blood, in the other. He had to go back in on Friday, and the surgeon cut his sinuses more to drain the blood and remove the clot. He gave G. a local anesthetic but didn’t put him under. Even with the anesthetic, it was horribly painful.

G. lost five pounds in the week between the two surgeries. His throat hurt after the first one from the tube that had been stuck down it. Then as the complications developed, his head and sinuses hurt, and he didn’t feel like eating.

On Thursday, he sneezed and got a gushing nose bleed. When the bleeding wouldn’t stop, we rushed to the emergency room and spent several hours there. G. came home with a tiny tampon stuffed up his nose, orders to rest and another surgery scheduled for the next day.

While he slept on the couch with Biggie B., I made pumpkin soup using another new cookbook, The Daily Soup. As always, there were adaptations. The recipe called for a specific type of Jamaican pumpkin, I used Rouge vif d’Etampes because that’s what we grow. I didn’t have Pickapeppa sauce, but I had Tabasco. I cut the amount of chili sauce because G. is sensitive to spicy food.

The soup turned out great. It was so great, that after saying he didn’t feel like eating and sitting and looking at his bowl for 20 minutes, G. eventually ate four bowls. Once he started eating, he couldn’t stop. And who could blame him? By then it had been about 20 hours since his last meal.

Then he had to fast again overnight so that he could have his second surgery on Friday. After that painful ordeal, he slept a few hours and then ate three more bowls of soup.

Later, he said to me, “There were chunks in the soup.”

We have an ongoing soup dispute. I like vegetable soups to be smooth purees. He likes chunks of vegetables in the soup. I do the cooking, so you can guess who usually wins out.

“Pumpkin and sweet potato,” I said.

“I like it, usually you blend everything up.”

“I left some chunks in because I knew you’d like that,” I said.

“Thank you,” G. said, “Thank you for my chunks.”

And there you have it: Nothing says “I love you” and “Get well soon” like chunky soup.

Jamaican Pumpkin Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups cubed pumpkin
6 cups vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Heat olive oil in a stockpot and add onion, celery, garlic, ginger and sugar. Sweat until vegetables begin to soften.

Stir in salt and spices. Add potato, pumpkin and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and let simmer until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.

Remove half of the soup and puree the rest. Stir in the Tabasco sauce. Stir back in the still-chunky portion of the soup. Serve.

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