Sometimes everything just falls in place. That is what happened when I got my very last Secret Recipe Club assignment, Culinary Adventures with Camilla! You probably recognize the blog name as I was just assigned her blog in July, when I made Watermelon-Tequila Granita, but it's no matter to repeat, there is never a lack of choices on Camilla's blog. In fact, I found the dish I wanted to make first thing as her most recent post that day was Sopa de Abóbora which is Portuguese Pumpkin Soup! I was more tha excited to see her post!
Why? Well, we had just returned from a recent trip to Spain and Portugal. Thinking of the trip and the wonderful sights, sounds, smells and tastes we experienced, I knew I was going to be spending time in the kitchen. Camilla's Sopa de Abóbora was a great inspiration and place to start.
You really need to make this soup. It was so smooth and flavorful with a very subtle hint of sweetness. This is a soup that I would make again. I did make a couple of changes in that I added carrots, garlic and cilantro. It was delicious...
Sopa de Abóbora aka Portuguese Pumpkin Soup
Inspired by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
1 small pumpkin (about 2 lbs.), peeled, seeds removed, pulp cut into small cubes
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 tomato, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cups chicken stock, divided
1 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the diced onions. When the onions become translucent, stir in the garlic. Cook for another minute. Add the pumpkin cubes and carrots to the onions and garlic. Cook until the pumpkin begins to caramelize.
Add the tomatoes and 2 cups chicken stock to the mixture and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pumpkin and carrots are easily mashed with a fork, about 20 minutes.
With an immersion blender process the mixture until it is smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add the remaining cup of chicken stock. Stir in the cinnamon OR nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the cilantro leaves.
Ladle into individual bowls for serving.
Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds and a few cilantro leaves.
Camilla has an unending amount of energy. She is the mother of three boys and describes herself as "a tree-hugging, veggie-crunching, jewelry-designing mean mommy who loves to cook but hates to clean." She has spent time as a florist, waitress, SCUBA dive master, stock photo agency manager, stroller fitness teacher, writer, editor, and au pair. She also lived and worked in Rome where she learned to cook. Camilla visited the markets, talked to farmers and fishmongers, and pestered them to learn how to prepare various dishes that are now part of her repertoire.
This busy woman uses any occasion to go into the kitchen and create delicious dishes for her family and friends. It is her hope that her blog will be an inspiration to others and they will prepare their own creative dishes!
I must admit that I am intrigued with Camilla's recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash and Chestnut Soup. The fall is the perfect time to serve soup in the "squash bowl"! But then, with the holidays approaching and knowing we would be entertaining, the idea of having homemade bitters on hand was appealing and Camilla just happened to have a recipe for making Meyer Lemon Bitters. Decisions...decisions.
I am also sharing a collage of a few pictures from our brief two days in Lisbon. In the morning of the first day, we took a general tour of the city which included Torre de Belem or Belem Tower (bottom center). The tower was built in 1515 as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon's harbor. It was imposing and beautiful. As we walked along we came across the Wine with a View cart! Director's chairs were set up enabling thirsty visitors to enjoy some great wine and the lovely view! We thought this was a great idea!
Our afternoon was spent walking and walking and walking. We made our way from the square pictured (bottom left) to the Moorish castle, São Jorge Castle (bottom right). The oldest parts of the castle date from the 6th century! I am always amazed at how old some of the structures are.
This is the last month for the Secret Recipe Club. It is being dissolved. I have enjoyed the opportunity to visit so many blogs and meet some really cool bloggers. Thank you all for sharing your recipes! And thank you, Camilla, for leading Group B!! It has been a fun adventure!