My first waitressing job during university was at an eclectic little bistro called the Tomato Cafe, nestled in the Cambie neighbourhood of Vancouver. Originally owned and founded by Diane Clement (cookbook author and previous Olympic athlete), it was true serendipity that they hired me. The Tomato has had a profound influence on my perspective on food and allowed me an opportunity to develop a serious respect for cooking with the best, freshest ingredients and the art of making food look and taste amazing. To this day I have never met anybody with more energy than Diane (ok, maybe my unbelievable cousin Jillian!).
I adapted this recipe from one of the soup recipes from ‘At The Tomato’, which remains one of my favourite cookbooks. The cafe was well known for the soups, made fresh every day and always to-die-for.
This particular soup is packed with beta-carotene (for healthy night vision) and fibre (not that you will notice). If you don’t have access to a sugar pumpkin, you can use butternut squash.
- 1 small sugar pumpkin, seeded and cut into 1/2″ slices (can leave the skin on)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange the slices of pumpkin evenly. Drizzle evenly with the olive oil and maple syrup and roast for approximately 40 minutes, until lightly brown and tender throughout. When cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh off of the pumpkin into a small bowl, discarding the skin. You should have 1 1/2 -2 cups of cooked pumpkin.
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. madras curry powder
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
- 1 tomato, coarsely chopped
- 2 cartons of chicken or vegetable stock (900ml each)
- 2 cans of coconut milk (398ml each)
- 1 cup canned chickpeas (optional)
- juice of 1 lime
- salt & pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant (careful not to brown them). Add the spices, ginger and tomato, and cook over medium-low, stirring, for 5-10 minutes, until the tomato is soft and starts to break down.
- Add the chicken or vegetable stock, roasted pumpkin and coconut milk and simmer for approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Add more stock to thin it down if needed or desired.
- Add the chickpeas and lime, salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and some creme fraiche or greek yogurt as a garnish if desired.