Lentil Vegetable Soup and Pumpkin Cornbread

IMG_3110I haven’t forgotten that I promised a soup and cornbread post. Really, I haven’t. It’s the holiday season, you know. There are things to do, people to see, cookies to bake. You’re lucky I’m here right now. Heck, maybe I’m the only one here right now.

These recipes feature pumpkin as a supporting character, rather than as the star of the dish. The pumpkin in these recipes adds color, texture, and depth of flavor, without shouting out “Hello! I’m Pumpkin!” at you.

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Lentil Vegetable Soup

1 Tablespoon butter
1 large leek, rinsed well, sliced in half lengthwise, and chopped
2 cups chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, and cabbage, for example)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup lentils
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon curry powder
6 cups water
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

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1. Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the leek and vegetables, salt and pepper, and cook until softened, and very lightly browned.IMG_3100

2. Stir in the lentils, pumpkin puree, and curry powder, and cook for a minute, until the curry powder is fragrant.

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3. Add the water, stir it all together, bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook until lentils are tender.

4. Before serving, add the parsley, squeeze the lemon half over the pot, stir in, and taste. Add salt and pepper if you think it needs it, and serve.

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I didn’t have enough fresh pumpkin for both recipes; I mixed the two in the soup instead of the cornbread, because soup is not as fussy as cornbread, as far as moisture content is concerned. The fresh pumpkin is lighter colored.

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Pumpkin Cornbread (I found this recipe online years ago; I’m sorry I don’t know who to credit for it, but it is not my own.)

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups milk

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1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

2. Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the egg lightly. Stir together the wet ingredients in a medium bowl until well mixed. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour the wet ingredients in and mix, just until moistened (there will be a few lumps).

2. Pour the batter evenly into the baking pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs on it (if it comes out with wet batter on it, the cornbread is not done, but if it comes out bone dry, your cornbread will be a little dry too). Let it cool for 10 minutes, then cut and serve. Cornbread is always better warm from the oven. I’m drooling a little just thinking about it. Sorry.

Our holiday celebrations may differ, but they all hold in common hope for the future, and wishes for peace and serenity for all. Cook something sweet for someone you love, and eat it with them. I’ll see you soon, somewhere down the Road.

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