Curried Pumpkin Soup with Preserved Lemons

September 25, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

So close to 20 years ago, on a visit to my Aunt Sheila's house, we were served a curried pumpkin soup. To this day it remains one of the most amazing dishes I have ever eaten. About 10 years ago, I asked her about the recipe. Not only doesn't she remember where she got the recipe, she has no memory of making the dish. So for the past several years off and on I have tried to recreate it. And after several dozen attempts I have begun to suspect that I will never actually be able to recreate a fantasy that has, in all likelihood, ranged far from reality. As for this soup, well, it is not that soup. But it's still pretty tasty.

Roasting the pumpkin was definitely a good idea and the preserved lemons (although a bit odd sounding) were a real eye-opener, brightening the soup without being identifiable. As a caveat, I would seriously recommend to hold off on adding salt until the preserved lemons have had a chance to leach what salt remains on them into the soup. —Niknud

What You'll Need
  • 1 pumpkin, cut into manageable pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 teaspoons sweet curry powder (Penzey's is great)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 preserved lemon, peel and pith only, diced fine
  • salt and pepper as needed
  1. Preheat the oven to 365. Split the pumpkin manageable size pieces and remove the seeds. Brush with melted butter (or you can use some additional walnut oil) and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for about an hour (it took me 85 minutes so translating to sea level will probably put it around the hour mark). When the pumpkin has cooled enough to handle, remove the skins and cut into smaller pieces
  2. In a heavy bottomed large pot, heat walnut oil until hot. Add the diced onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.
  3. When the onions are done, add the chicken broth and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the curry powder. Simmer for about an hour.
  4. When the vegetables are soft enough, remove from heat and puree using a immersion blender. Don't stress a few lumpy bits.
  5. Return to low heat. Add the coconut milk, grated ginger, cayenne and preserved lemons (don't forget to rinse the lemons well). Stir and let it sit around and ponder the mysteries of life until the ingredients have had a chance to get to know one another. Only then should you add salt if it needs any.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • gingerroot
  • Midge
  • wssmom
  • susan g
    susan g

Recipe by: Niknud

Full-time working wife and mother of two small boys whose obsessive need to cook delicious food is threatening to take over what little free time I have. I grew up in a family of serious cookers but didn't learn to cook myself until I got married and got out of the military and discovered the joys of micro-graters, ethiopian food, immersion blenders and watching my husband roll around on the floor after four servings of pulled pork tamales (with real lard!) complaining that he's so full he can't feel his legs. Trying to graduate from novice cooker to ranked amateur. The days of 'the biscuit incident of aught five' as my husband refers to it are long past but I still haven't tried my hand at paella so I'm a work in progress!

15 Reviews

TheWimpyVegetarian September 30, 2011
This sounds just wonderful! Saved this to make it soon!! And love the photo of your son - it looks like he's really having a lot of fun!
Niknud October 2, 2011
Thanks, ChezSuzanne! I try and do a lot of cooking with my boys - I think it makes them more adventurous eaters if they see where food comes from and they have a hand in the process.
TheWimpyVegetarian October 2, 2011
I completely agree! What a great foundation you're giving them!!
gingerroot September 27, 2011
What a delicious sounding soup! Love curry and pumpkin (or squash) and the preserved lemon is so intriguing. Saving to try soon.
Niknud September 28, 2011
Thanks, gingerroot. Would love to hear how it turns out if you get a chance to make it!
Midge September 26, 2011
Love these flavors. And add me to the list of people who use curry powder!
Niknud September 27, 2011
Thanks, Midge. Nice to know I'm not alone in reaching for the pre-made curry powder!
wssmom September 26, 2011
What a great foto, and I love the flavors in the soup. Must get me some preserved lemons ...
Niknud September 26, 2011
Saw a picture of preserved lemons about six months ago and decided I had to make them. Not a whole lot to compare them with out here so who knows if I did it 'right.' They sure tasted good in the soup though - cut through some of the coconut milk in a nice sort of way.
susan G. September 25, 2011
Wonderful! and I love the color coordination of pumpkin and sous chef. Can you give some idea of how much pumpkin and squash (pounds? cups?). Grateful for another preserved lemon destination.
Niknud September 25, 2011
So it was really just the smallest pumpkin I could find at the 'decorative' halloween stand. They definitely weren't baking pumpkins....maybe 4 pounds? The acorn squash was just a regular sized one - maybe about 1.5 pounds. It makes a lot of soup. There are for sure some bags in my freezer filled with leftover soup. And this was the first recipe I'd used my first batch of preserved lemons for. I put up about three jars of the lemons six weeks ago (you can actually see them in the background of the photo I posted). I was dithering about how to cut some of the richness of the soup and my eye just happened to fall on them. It turned out really well - surprisingly.
Niknud September 26, 2011
BTW susan g, any color coordination was purely accidental. What you can't see in the picture is the neon yellow shorts he picked out to go with his orange shirt. There's a distinct possibility my son may be color blind! :)
hardlikearmour September 25, 2011
This sounds fabulous, and there is nothing wrong with using curry powder!!
EmilyC September 25, 2011
I agree with HLA about the curry power -- especially if you're using Penzey's! (I'm slightly obsessed with Penzey's, not being able to walk out of that store for less than $30.) Your little sous chef is pretty darn cute.
Niknud September 25, 2011
They just opened two (yes, two) Penzey's stores in Colorado Springs! I am beside myself with joy! They definitely are my go to brand for spice blends when I simply can't bring myself to make the entire dish from scratch.