Roasted Pumpkin & Poblano Corn Soup with Baked Corn-Potato Latkes
It’s funny how a southern girl can end up in a Virginia mountain town where she rides her bike to work every day, even during the winter months. I hate the cold. It’s a fact. G finds it hilarious since he’s from Pittsburgh and lived in Eerie with its lake effect snow smothers, but, seriously you guys, my toes are frozen every morning! Bike shoes ain’t made to keep your feet warm, not even with toe covers, don’t let them say otherwise.
Not that I’d change my routine (or that I could since I refuse to pay for parking), but, let me tell you, because of this never ending cold feeling, it’s soup season.
Hot, steaming, soul-lifting soup season.
This Roasted Pumpkin & Poblano Corn Soup is intensely vegetal and, I swear to god, for the first time (maybe ever), I did not use coconut milk in a pureed, roasted vegetable soup. Anyone proud of me? I know I am!
It starts with a corn stock made of long simmered corn cobs and water, then adds fresh, roasted pumpkin and roasted poblano peppers. (Everything but the poblanos were local–frozen corn & cobs from this summer, pumpkin from the fall. Next year I just need to plant poblano peppers too!) A dash of cumin rounds out the puree and a hint of lime adds a little pep. Simple with a slow, warming kick from the poblanos, it melts away any tingling icicles I have clinging to my gloves and shoes.
And what better way to pair with the thawing goodness of this soup than with a twist on a Hanukkah favorite–latkes? Since I’m hilariously unable to properly fry anything (every year I bring out the fry daddy, every year it ends up on the shelf again), I decided to go with baked latkes–a vegan, gluten-free baked latke at that. And since I’m not even sure I’ve ever eaten an honest-to-goodness latke before, I figured I’d make a non-traditional one. (That’s sorta like making a new recipe for a dinner party, right? A total no-no, but what we all do?)
Using flax seed instead of eggs and a mix of sorghum & tapioca flours instead of all purpose, these latkes are surprisingly crispy when baked and a perfect match for the roasted pumpkin & poblano corn soup. With guacamole instead of sour cream on top, the entire meal is a Southwestern twist on local, holiday flavors.
While maybe not the most traditional of flavors for Hanukkah or any holiday season, if you live somewhere cold or blustery, I can guarantee that this soup will bring a little warm to your spirit and send you into holiday cheer–even if it’s just a daydream of deserts and cacti.
Roasted Pumpkin & Poblano Corn Soup with Baked Corn-Potato Latkes
For the Soup:
4-5 cups corn stock:
-12 corn cobs (I froze mine from summer harvest)
-1 large stock pot filled with water
1 5lb pumpkin, halved & seeds removed
2 poblano peppers (or only one if you’re sky of spicy food)
1 tsp + more to taste salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp lime juice
Fresh black pepper
1 c roasted corn kernels:
-1 c corn kernels
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the corn cobs in your stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Place the pumpkin halves in a baking dish (pumpkins release a lot of water as they roast, so you want edges to keep the juice from overflowing into your oven) and drizzle with 1 tbsp or so of olive oil. Rub the oil on both sides, and roast the pumpkins, open side down, for 45 minutes, or until soft when poked with a fork.
While the pumpkin is roasting, roast the poblano peppers. There are various ways of doing this. If you have a gas stove, simply hold the peppers (with tongs!) over the open flame and singe the peppers until the skin is blackened and bubbling out all over. I have an electric stove, so I did it in a cast iron pan over medium heat, turning the peppers as needed. Another way, which would have been genius if I’d thought of it soon enough, would have been to roast them over our gas grill outside. However you do it, you want the skins to be blackened.
Once the poblano skins are blackened, immediately put them in a sealed ziploc bag. Let them sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove and you can easily peel the skins off with your fingers.
Skins removed, chop the poblano peppers in half and remove the seeds & woody top. Set aside.
Once the pumpkin is cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool, scoop the flesh from the skins and set aside. Throw out/compost the skins.
Place the corn kernels on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1/2 tsp or so of olive oil. Roast for 4-5 minutes, flip the kernels to their other side, and roast another 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and place into a bowl to cool.
After 1 hour, remove the corn cobs from the stock and strain out all the other bits of corn in the stock with a fine mesh strainer. Set the strained stock aside and wash out the stock pot.
Next, puree the corn stock, pumpkin flesh, poblano peppers, and stock (4-5 cups) in a blender or food processor. I did this in two batches in my Vitamix–1 half of the pumpkin + 2 cups corn stock + 1 poblano pepper.
Add the puree to the cleaned stock pot and set over low heat on the stove. Stir in the cumin, 1 tsp salt, fresh black pepper to taste, and 1 tsp lime juice. Stir, let simmer for a few minutes, and adjust seasoning if needed. I ended up adding about 2 tsp lime juice and a little more salt to mine.
Top with roasted corn kernels.
For the Baked Corn-Potato Latkes:
Adapted from Happy Herbivore
2 c shredded potatoes
1/8 c diced onion
1 c corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
1 tbsp ground flax seed whisked with 3 tbsp water
1/8 c tapioca flour
1/8 c sorghum flour
pinch fresh black pepper
Spray olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the shredded potatoes (a great tutorial for how to get the crispiest latkes from your shredding technique over here at The Kitchn), onions, and corn kernels into a bowl. Add the flax seed mixture, flours, salt, and pepper, and mix to thoroughly combine.
Line a baking tray with parchment (my Silpat works geniusly well for this), and scoop 1/4 of the mixture to place on the baking tray. Flatten the latkes until they are 1/4″ thick. Spray the tops and sides with spray olive oil (you want a very thin coat of oil to help with browning & flipping), and bake for 8-12 minutes.
Flip over and bake another 8 minutes, until golden brown on both sides.
Serve with guacamole.
For the Guacamole:
1/8 onion, minced
1 tbsp jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tsp lime juice
Mash all ingredients together in a bowl.
Serves 1-2 depending on your snacking addiction.