Pumpkin Soup with Black Garlic

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main dish.

Black garlic’s sweet, funky, balsamic notes add interest and depth to mild pumpkin. The recipe can be doubled, except use only six cloves of black garlic (or 1 teaspoon black garlic powder) in the soup. A 'chef’s secret' to make chopping black garlic easier: lightly grease your knife with a few drops of olive oil.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves black garlic, chopped or 1¼ teaspoons black garlic powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon black Kampot pepper
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 can (15-ounces) plain pumpkin purée
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
½ cup half and half
Sea Salt, to taste

For garnish:
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
2 cloves black garlic or ½ teaspoon black garlic powder
Sea Salt, to taste

Cook the onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent, add the spices and black garlic (or black garlic powder); cook 1–2 minutes more. Add the broth and pumpkin; cook for 20 minutes on medium-low, to thicken the soup and concentrate the pumpkin flavor. (If the soup gets too thick, add another ½ cup of broth, but remember that you’ll also be adding the half and half). Purée with an immersion blender until smooth, then stir in the vinegar and half and half. Add salt to taste.

Make the yogurt garnish by putting 1 tablespoon of yogurt into a small bowl and smooshing the black garlic cloves into it using the back of a spoon (or stirring in the black garlic powder). Add the remaining yogurt and mix well. Top each bowl of soup with a generous spoonful of garlicky yogurt before serving.

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