Red Curry Pumpkin & Turkey Soup
Okay, it sounds like a strange combination, but sometimes disparate things work together to make tasty dishes.
Fall is a great time to clean the old out of the cupboards to make room for the new. I found myself in that predicament. What to do with frozen things, still good but going, odds and ends (mostly ends) of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, new potatoes (whole), sundry red peppers and sprigs of herbs (basil, thyme and marjoram) left over from the fall garden?
Faced with the dilemma of throwing out perfectly good food, my creative brain said, “Broth.” Cool days are perfect for making broth. So, I loaded up the pot with a leftover turkey leg frozen last spring and the above-mentioned varied assortment, plus some garlic. I let that simmer awhile, enjoying the growing fragrance and scents filling the house. I had a notion about an hour into the slow simmer to add some cinnamon (mainly to add a sweetness to the strong smell of the turkey), which, unintentionally and surely, set the entire meal off on a different direction.
Cinnamon? What was I thinking…but it reminded me of a thick Mexican mole sauce with deep red chili and I knew the taste (and smell) would mask the strong fragrance of the dark turkey meat. Sure enough, a slight touch of cinnamon soon wafted on the steam slipping from beneath the lid of the pot. After the broth simmered a few hours, I removed the turkey and veggie pieces to cool and continued to season the broth, deciding on red curry powder after contemplating the many spices in the cabinet. Curry and cinnamon? Interesting. So I proceeded.
Once the turkey and veggies cooled, I removed the skin, bones and ligaments from the turkey and shredded the remaining meat and softened vegetables into the broth with my fingers. I cut up the now boiled potatoes, added diced raw onion, cabbage and a few roasted green chiles, and continued to simmer on the lowest possible setting.
I could have left well enough alone. At this point the soup was a basically a turkey green chili chowder, but with cinnamon and curry thrown in. But the day was young. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. What could go wrong? Most likely, not much.
I decided to be even more adventurous. I added a can of (unsweetened) pumpkin puree and a can of (unsweetened) coconut milk, swirled all together nicely with a wooden spoon and corrected the seasoning with a little sea salt. The aroma blended perfectly with the fall-tinged air. Careful not to bring the soup to a boil, I turned off the heat and later put everything into the fridge to “cure” overnight. Tomorrow, it’s reheated curried turkey pumpkin soup with roasted green chile for dinner (just remember not to return the soup to boil after adding the coconut milk or it will curdle). Probably flour tortillas grilled with butter on the side or maybe a chicken salad with dates and chipotle mayonnaise. And a nice fire. It is the southwest, after all.
I love autumn.
Basic stock made from vegetables and turkey (or chicken, if you prefer)
Seasonings, including curry powder, cinnamon, garlic, bay leaf, black pepper, sea salt, etc., to suit your taste
Diced cabbage, potato, onion and roasted green chili, plus any meat removed from bone
1 can coconut milk
1 can pumpkin puree (unsweetened)