In the fall of 2007 I studied abroad in Dusseldorf, Germany through my school's film program. It was an amazing experience and one of my favorite parts of the trip was all of the German food that I got to eat. (Mmmm sauerkraut!) One day we were working with this German music professor at his home and, when it came time for lunch, his wife brought over this HUGE pot of soup and a bunch of tasty rolls form the bakerei. It is, 'till this day, the best soup I've ever had. I wrote the professor an email asking for the recipe and he brought it to the final dinner party we had at the end of the program. It was entirely in German, and although my conversational German was okay, I had no idea what ginger root translated to... So, my host mother was able to quickly translate the recipe for me and here it is, to be shared with you all! It's a really healthy dish, and surprisingly filling for being vegan. I also listed some optional non-vegan add-ins that you can put in, if you want to make it a little less healthy :) Guten Appetit!!! And happy autumn!!!!
2 Small Baking Pumpkins, about 7 inches in diameter
1 Large Onion, chopped
1 Leek, chopped
1 Large Tomato, (or 2 small ones), chopped
1 Small Root of Ginger, about 3 inches long, peeled and grated
2 Large Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 Large Carrots, peeled and sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
4 Slices Premium Bacon, (optional), fried until crispy and then diced
4 Cups of Water
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Vegetable Boullion Cubes, or whatever amount corresponds to 4 cups of water
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
Sprig of an herb for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Take one of the pumpkins, cut it in half, and scoop out and discard the insides. Cut the pumpkin into fourths and peel off the skin with a potato peeler. The skin is very hard and this may take some time. I saw another method here, but didn't try it because I was weary of cooking the pumpkin in the microwave before cooking it in the pot. Once the skin has been peeled, chop the pumpkin up into roughly 2 inch cubes. Set them aside.
Now take the other pumpkin and cut off the top as you would with a carving pumpkin. Use a medium sized spoon to scoop out all of the seeds. Sprinkle some salt inside the pumpkin and place a tablespoon of butter or olive oil inside of it and place the cap back on. Place this pumpkin in a casserole pan and bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the inside of the pumpkin is fairly soft and the outside has turned a deep orange color, like in the photo below.
Heat the fourth cup of olive oil in a very large pot. Add the onions and sautee until nearly transparent, about 10 minutes. Then add the chopped pumpkin, potatoes, carrots and coriander. Allow to cook for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes to cook the vegetables evenly. Then add the garlic, ginger, leek and tomato and allow to cook for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes again.