SOUP WEATHER! Finally, I can make my Ground Pork and Pumpkin Soup. I can stop whining and get into my kitchen with some gusto! I’m not going to spend a great deal of time on a soup story, even though I have a few. With a tiny bit of modesty, I will say that I’m reasonably famous for my soup.
When someone asks why my soup is so good, I would always wink and joke that it was because I added LOVE to every pot, which is true. But, in this case, love is actually taking the time to get each step right. Soup is about filling up every corner you have. It should smell good, taste good, fill you up, and warm you from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
My Secret To A Perfect Ground Pork and Pumpkin Soup
So how do I get those deep base flavours into every pot of soup?
- Quality ingredients
- Cutting the ingredients to fit on a soupspoon
- Season at every stage
- Browning the onions is tremendously important
- Cooking at a simmer to give flavours time to meld
- Balance in the final seasoning – that is what “to taste” actually means
This Ground Pork and Pumpkin Soup take an intense 15 or 20 minutes to put together anywhere from one to two hours to simmer to perfection.
My other “secret” is cooking the meat separately. I have found that adding meat to a simmering pot of soup too soon results in nothing but overcooked meat. I generally add the cooked and seasoned meat to the soup pot in the last 10 minutes of cooking along with the fast cooking green veggies (kale or cabbage or any of those fast wilting greens) so that the flavours of the soup have developed and the meat and green addition are not cooked to death.
Over the next few weeks, I will be adding lots more soup lore. Right now, I am giving you this Ground Pork and Pumpkin Soup recipe so you can finish that leftover pumpkin or ground pork that’s been in your freezer for who knows how long.
One other thing: a whole pot of soup should feed you for a few days, and before you are bored with it, the rest should be stored away in your freezer. There will be a night in the near future where having that soup ready and waiting to be thawed, heated and served will save your sanity and warm your weary soul.
Ground Pork and Pumpkin Soup
- 1 pound ground pork (minced pork)
- 1 large onion - chopped
- 6 large carrots - peeled and sliced into rounds
- 3 whole red pepper (red capsicum) - roasted, chopped
- 1 can black beans - 15-ounce, rinsed
- 7-8 ounces pumpkin - canned puree
- ½ cup red wine - or white leftover
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons ground cumin
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice - or apple cider vinegar
- Heat a large soup or stockpot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add one tablespoon olive oil, and coat the bottom of the pan. Add chopped onion and allow to cook, occasionally stirring until wilted and well browned.
- Add Carrots, Roasted Red Peppers and stir.
- Add pumpkin puree and constantly stir for 1 minute to prevent scorching or sticking.
- Add wine and soy sauce to the pot and stir to make sure all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan are released. This is where all the flavour happens in your soup base, so take your time with each ingredient addition and allow some browning process to occur.
- Add the black beans, two tablespoons of cumin, one tablespoon granulated garlic, 2 tsp salt and 2 tsp pepper, stir and add the chicken stock.
- Put the lid on the pot, turn the heat down to medium-low, and allow the soup to simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the soup base is simmering, heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and coat the bottom of the pan. Add ground pork, season with one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of pepper, one tablespoon of ground cumin and two teaspoons of garlic. Stir to break up the ground pork and mix in the seasonings. Cook until all the pink is gone, but do not overcook. This will finish cooking when added to the soup.
- When the soup base has simmered for about 40 minutes, raise the heat to medium-high and add the cabbage and cooked ground pork. If you must drain the fat, then do so, but pastured meat will have very little fat and adds tremendous flavour and mouthfeel to the soup.
- Stir well and replace the lid and allow to come to a slow boil. Turn heat down to low and check after 10 mins. Taste for salt and adjust to taste.
- Add one tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and stir. Taste again and make sure the final bit of added lemon or vinegar has rounded out the flavours. I like a bit more lemon than most (3 tablespoons), so this is a very personal taste adjustment.