Moroccan Pumpkin Soup and Pumpkin Bars

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Pumpkins aren’t just for fall, you know.  Sure, we associate them mostly with the autumn harvest, but this truly durable gourdlike squash can bring color, warmth and tasty goodness to your table long past Thanksgiving and into the rest of winter.

Contributor Fern Hastings shares these recipes with us and says: “The soup recipe is from a Jewish vegetarian cookbook filled with Mediterranean recipes. The Pumpkin Bars recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens, and it is delicious.”  Thanks, Fern.

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Moroccan Pumpkin Soup

(Shorabit Yatkeen)

¼ cup vegetable oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped (or 2 onions)
8 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
2-3 lbs pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1″ chunks (5-6 cups)
3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 cans, drained)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ tsp table salt or 2 ½ tsp kosher salt
Ground black pepper to taste
Chopped cilantro, chopped parsley, or sautéed mushrooms

Sauté the leeks in oil in a large pot for about 5 minutes. Add the stock, pumpkin, chickpeas, carrots, sugar, spices, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the pumpkin is very soft, about 50 minutes. Discard the cinnamon sticks. Blend the soup with an immersion blender until fairly smooth. Add as much chopped cilantro, parsley, or sautéed mushrooms to each bowl as desired before serving.

Pumpkin Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
4 beaten eggs
1 16-ounce can pumpkin
1 cup cooking oil
cream cheese frosting

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, soda, salt and cloves. Stir in eggs, pumpkin and cooking oil until thoroughly combined. Spread batter into an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

Bake in a 350° oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack in the pan. Frost with cream cheese frosting. Cut into bars. Makes 48.

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ to 2 ½ cups powdered sugar

In a bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup powdered sugar, beating well.

Gradually beat in enough remaining powdered sugar to make frosting of spreading consistency.

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