From the Pantry: Curried Pumpkin and Wild Rice Soup
There's always one can of pumpkin puree kicking around after Thanksgiving. Put it to use in this ultra-flavorful soup. We use traditional cooking techniques (part mole, part curry) by making a paste with common pantry staples and frying it in oil to create a deep layer of flavor. If you don't have wild rice, just use 1/2 cup of any dry grain you have on hand.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the rice, and simmer until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Strain and let cool.
Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons of the raisins and 1 tablespoon of the vinegar in a small bowl. Let sit at room temperature until ready to serve.
Pulse 1/4 cup of the nuts, the remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar and 2 tablespoons raisins, 2 tablespoons water, tomato paste, curry powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a food processor until a coarse paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the coarse paste, and cook, stirring frequently, until the oil begins to separate and the paste is brick red, 6 to 8 minutes. Add splashes of water if the paste sticks to the bottom of the pan at all. Add the chicken broth, pumpkin puree and 1 cup water, and whisk until blended. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally, and continue simmering until the soup has reduced and is slightly thicker than heavy cream, 30 to 40 minutes. Season with salt, and stir in about 3/4 of the cooked wild rice.
Divide the hot soup among 4 soup bowls. Top each with some of the remaining rice and 1/4 cup cashews, vinegar-soaked raisins and pepper flakes.