I’m always looking for ways to use pumpkin that are savory instead of sweet. It isn’t actually a vegetable, but does act like a vegetable at times! I love pumpkin soup and have made it many ways, including a pumpkin black bean soup that was a keeper. I wanted to make a tortilla soup that uses coconut milk for a rich and creamy base. With pumpkin.
The coconut milk has very little coconut flavor. In fact, I can’t detect it in most soups. If I tasted coconut I wouldn’t be using it because I don’t like coconut! Chicken tortilla soup is spicy so I knew we probably wouldn’t notice the taste of coconut. Perhaps the pumpkin wouldn’t be noticeable either. But both would lend a hearty and creamy consistency to the southwestern style soup.
I had about ½ pound of leftover roasted chicken breast and wanted to make a small pot of chicken tortilla soup. Then I love, love, love black beans, that was the next ingredient I would add to the soup. I imagined using some diced tomatoes and tomato paste to give the broth an even better depth of flavor. Sweet bell peppers were a given, I put them in everything except dessert. And I’d put onions in the soup, of course.
When the soup was ready to serve, garnishes would include diced avocado and crushed tortilla chips along with handfuls of shredded cheese and dollops of sour cream. Mmmm, I was excited to start!
In a non-stick skillet I added a drizzle of oil and heated it to medium high, added the diced onions and sweet bell pepper. I used an orange pepper; red or yellow would be equally good.
I plugged in the slow cooker and added the pumpkin, coconut milk and 2 cups of water into the pot. I added 2 cubes of chicken bouillon, stirred the liquid and let it heat on the high setting of the crock pot.
I opened 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained them and added them to the pot. I added a can of diced tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste and stirred the pot well. The onions and peppers were lightly browned and I added them to the pot now too. I measured seasonings: garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and a large pinch of cayenne. I also added a tablespoon of diced jalapeno. One last stir and I put the lid on the crock pot and let it cook on high for 2 hours.
The smell of the tortilla soup filled the house, it was making me hungry. My P.S. (Pants over Soup/hubby) came home and sniffed loudly and groaned in happiness. He was bummed he had to wait another hour
After two hours I stirred and taste tested the soup for seasonings. I added 2 tablespoons of lime juice to give it a touch of acid to make the flavors pop even more. I added a lot more salt; the soup seemed to absorb a lot of salt and needed more. I added more black pepper as well.
I ladled the pumpkin chicken tortilla soup into bowls and we garnished our own soups. I added crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar and diced avocado. I was bummed we were out of sour cream! The soup was amazing anyway.. the rich broth with its seasonings a good base for the chicken, black beans, tomatoes and garnishes. It’s a very filling soup! One bowl and we were both totally satisfied with our dinner. Well we still had room for brownies (another post). There’s always room for brownies.
Pumpkin Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 orange sweet bell pepper; diced
1 medium onion; diced
drizzle of olive oil
15 ounce can coconut milk
15 ounce can pumpkin
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups water
2 cups chicken breast; diced
2 15 ounce cans black beans; rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon jalapeno; diced
15 ounce can diced tomatoes
small can tomato paste
2 tablespoons lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste before serving
*Serve with garnishes listed below
Sauté diced pepper and onion in a little oil until the onions are browned.
In a slow cooker, add coconut milk, pumpkin, chicken cubes and water. Stir well and set on high.
Add pepper and onions to the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and cover. Cook on high for one hour.
Add 2 tablespoons of lime juice and stir. Taste test, adding salt, pepper or other seasonings as desired.
*Serve hot with garnishes of choice: crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sliced black olives, cubed avocado, chopped cilantro or even steamed rice.