There is no stillness here. The wind is in the trees and the leaves are on the ground and all day I walk with a stirring inside. I imagine under my skin, in the dark hollow beneath my rib cage, no organs but an echoing chamber and a pile of dried leaves lifted by a wind and spun and swirled around and around and around. My heart beats like a hummingbird and even my thoughts seem somehow vaporous. Nothing lasts. That which goes unwritten is rootless.

The kitchen is my anchor. My hands stay busy. My mind moves freely from place to place and the wonders of muscle memory set in: peeling, chopping, stirring, salting. The cucumbers and tomatoes in my garden suddenly hold little appeal–fleeting sun fruits of a passing season. I am drawn to the golden orbs of pumpkin hunkered under canopies of vine. Even raw the flesh is substantial, absorbent. The pumpkin is earthly, lasting. It is designed to store in a cellar or on a shelf for months after it has been harvested. It lies in wait, steady, sustaining.

The deep smells of roasting–garlic, pumpkin, sizzling oil–level me. Then again the routine motions: scrape, stir, blend, stir. As night falls I ladle myself a bowl. Each velvety bite is a dropping in, a slowing down. I can feel my feet against the rag rug and the ground against my feet. If only for a moment, the quiet comes. I am still.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Pepitas
serves 4
About 3 lbs pumpkin or winter squash of choice
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 a sweet onion, chopped
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper, chopped with seeds
3 cardamom pods (or 1/2 t ground cardamom) 
dash of nutmeg
1 T coconut oil
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
olive oil
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Quarter or halve your pumpkin(s) depending on the size and place skin side down on a baking sheet. Place each garlic clove in the hollow of each piece of pumpkin. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until a fork goes easily through the flesh of the pumpkin, about an hour. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh away from the skin with a spoon. Discard the skins.
Leave the oven and on and keep the baking sheet handy.
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, hot pepper and the nutmeg and stir. Gently crush the cardamom pods with the flat side of a large knife and add to the pot. Once the onion is wilted, add the squash and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 more minutes.
While the soup is cooking, drizzle about 1T of olive oil on the baking sheet and pour the pumpkin seeds on top. Sprinkle generously with salt and pop the tray in the oven until the seeds get brown and plump, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Turn the soup off, remove the cardamom pods with a slotted spoon, and let the remainder cool enough to put into a blender. Working in batches, blend the soup until smooth and return to the pot. Heat when ready to serve, topping each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a spoonfull of pepitas.
This is extra delicious with buttery rye toast.
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3 Responses to Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Pepitas

  1. tiffany says:

    beautifully written!

  2. Siri says:

    This is a FANTASTIC recipe …I will be using it in the rejuvenation phase of a cleanse I am hosting in Maine. I love Jennifer’s insight and commitment to good, whole beingness and food!