Southwest Chicken Pumpkin Soup

Adapted from Pumpkin, A Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year

1/2 lb fresh pumpkin, seeds and fiber removed, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp Vera Jane's Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for brushing on chunks
1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb DLM Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves or Thighs, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1-2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the oven to 400°F. Brush each pumpkin chunk with oil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork. Cool slightly and peel. Measure out 1 cup and mash. Store the rest in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook for several minutes until they begin to wilt. Add the bell pepper and garlic and continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes until softened.

While the vegetables are cooking, mix the chicken in a small bowl with the cumin, salt, pepper flakes, and a few grinds of black pepper.

Add the chicken mixture to the onion mixture and cook for 5 minutes, until the aromas rise from the pot as the chicken begins to cook. Stir in the pumpkin and tomato paste and cook for several minutes, until well blended. Add the broth and corn, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is tender and no longer pink.

Season with the lime juice, taste, and add more salt if needed. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Makes 6 servings

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