World of Food: Worth the Effort
Rowland Robinson grew up in a British West Indies home steeped in food culture, so it’s not surprising his culinary passion took root early. His parents were food and wine professionals — his Anglo-Bermudian father was in the wine industry and his Menominee mother had a long restaurant career. He and his brother grew up on the western, Chinese and Japanese dishes that highlighted his mother’s broad palate. On special occasions she prepared the Indigenous foods she grew up with…
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Ena͞emaehkiw Kesīqnaeh’s Northeast Pumpkin Soup
Not all fresh pumpkins (gourds or squashes) are best for soup. Use a sugar pumpkin (also known as a pie pumpkin), otherwise you can try one of the following squashes: buttercup, butternut, carnival, red kuri, or sweet dumpling. If you use a squash, the roasting time may vary and you may need to adjust the spicing or sweetness. Adapted from Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking by Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs, published by Stewart, Tabori and Chang.
- 1.5 kg pumpkin OR 1 x 796 ml can of pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling) – see notes
- 1.25-2.5 ml allspice, to taste
- 15 – 45 ml maple syrup
- 750-1000 ml broth (chicken broth, beef, vegetable), as needed
Garnish (optional, choose one)
- 2-4 green onions, finely sliced (green parts only)
- 65 g toasted chopped hazelnuts (125 ml)
- 125 g toasted pumpkin seeds (125 ml)
To roast the pumpkin seeds:
- pumpkin seeds from the cleaned pumpkin
- 30-45 ml flavourless oil (2-3 tablespoons)
- If using fresh pumpkin, roast it at 180C (350F) for one hour or until the tip of a sharp knife easily pierces the flesh. Let cool for 20 minutes, then halve the fruit and remove the seeds and strings, keeping the seeds. Cut the halves into wedges and peel off the papery skin. Mash or purée the flesh , and measure 800 ml (approximately 3¼ cups) or 825 g of purée for the soup.
- If using canned pumpkin purée, pour into a heavy-bottomed pot and stir constantly over medium-low heat until it steams and becomes fragrant, about five minutes. This will get rid of the tinny taste.
To make the soup
- Place the prepared pumpkin, allspice, and maple syrup in a heavy-bottomed pot. Over medium-high heat, stir in enough broth to achieve the desired consistency and bring to a boil. Let bubble for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and let simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Balance flavours to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired. Serve while hot.
To oven roast the pumpkin seeds
- Retun the oven to 180C (350F). Discard the strings and wash pat dry the seeds. Once dry, toss them in oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread them in a single layer on a baking tray and toast until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.
A version of this recipe appeared in my profile of Ena͞emaehkiw Kesīqnaeh for my World of Food column for Grand Magazine (January-February 2019).