On Parenting and Pumpkins

Pumpkin soup with chipotle and pimenton

It’s one of the ironies of being a new parent that even though we are spending more time than at any other point in our adult lives at home, we are finding it virtually impossible to do any cooking. Even when we do steal a few moments of quiet to get behind the burners, by the time the food is done, so is the nap our baby was taking. Of course, eating your dinner cold is nothing new to a food blogger – teasing the plating and getting just the right lighting usually takes a while – but at least we used to be able to eat our tepid meat and congealed sauce without the throaty vocal stylings of a five-week-old as an accompaniment.

Another delightful aspect of being a home-bound parent is that, when leaving the house involves assembling ten things, a stroller and an acquiescent child, one is motivated to make use of what is close at hand. In a moment of hunger-inspired desperation this past weekend, we took that maxim to its logical conclusion.

Literally lying beside our front door was a pair of pumpkins we had originally intended to carve for Halloween had our sculptural ambitions not been thwarted by the arrival of said infant. Still edible, they were quickly hacked, seeded and roasted in a hot oven with salt and pepper while the baby slumbered peacefully in his swing. In a “waste not, want not” moment, also into the oven went the pumpkin seeds seasoned with chipotle powder and brown sugar, emerging a scant twenty minutes later, crispy and snack-tastic. The baby, now stirring, its nostrils a-quiver.

Pumpkin soup with chipotle and pimenton

From all of this, plus the contents of a still well-stocked spice rack and half a Mexican chorizo I rescued from a sad end in the depths of our refrigerator, came a pimentón-scented pumpkin velouté topped with sweet chipotle pepitas, crumbled chorizo and a sprinkle of black Hawaiian sea salt that I forgot we’d bought, somewhat curiously, in a supermarket in France last Christmas.

Even the abundant use of the stick blender failed to completely rouse our newborn, though, in his now-customary fashion, by the time we were seated at the table, spoons-at-the-ready, our charming little nipper was once again in full voice, sharing his anguish at his meager milk-based diet. Happily, this soup is just as good, if not better, when reheated the next day. A quality we might not have fully appreciated before now.

Pumpkin Velouté with Pimentón and Chipotle (feeds 4-6)


  • 1 large pumpkin, with seeds
  • 1/2 Mexican style chorizo
  • 1/2 cup cream or sour cream
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tsp pimenton ahumado (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • 1tsp chipotle powder
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp cotija cheese, grated
  • cilantro garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 420F/200C
  2. Cut pumpkin into large chunks (leaving skin on), and deseed it. Sprinkle pumpkin with salt and pepper.
  3. Rub pieces lightly with olive oil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until pumpkin starts to color a little
  4. On a separate oven tray, spread seeds and season with salt, pepper and chipotle powder. Place in same oven and roast for 20 minutes or until crispy.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool fully before removing skin carefully with a paring knife.
  6. In a blender, food processor or with a stick blender, pulse pumpkin, pimenton, brown sugar.
  7. Spoon in half the sour cream and milk, and re-pulse. Add chicken stock, pulse to combine.
  8. Consistency should be pretty thick. Add remaining milk and sour cream until soup is smooth but not gloopy.
  9. Return to the pot and bring to a simmer. Correct seasoning.
  10. In a saute pan, crumble chorizo and saute until cooked through
  11. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chorizo crumbles, pumpkin seeds, cotija cheese and any thing else you think might be good.

14 thoughts on “On Parenting and Pumpkins

  1. I remember well last year when a vegetarian friend with a new baby asked about pasture/grass-fed meat vendors in Union Square for the new addition. I was surprised at how an infant can turn a world around! The soup looks lovely and you have the satisfaction of not letting great produce rot away. Soon the little tyrant will be asking for another bowl of it!!! What a great diet baby has in store for him.

  2. Chorizo, pepitas, chipolte, pimenton ahumado and cotija sure can take pumpkin soup to a wonderful conclusion. They just seem to go together, don’t they?
    As for the little one, my advice is to live your life with the usual noise (mixers, blenders, music, TV) so he gets accustomed to it…otherwise, you’ll be in for a few years of living like cloistered nuns.

  3. Zephyr wore many of my first postpartum meals, sad and funny to say. I think my lowest point was getting ketchup in his neonate hair. He’s 1 year old today! This time goes by so fast – in a few short months you, too, will be back to some semblage of your old lives.

  4. And get ready to appreciate the re-heating more and more! This soup sounds great, and I could even make this!
    Enjoy the naps now….. before you know it, he will be a toddler out-running you!

  5. Even in your sleep-deprived new baby state you still manage to crack me up! Sorry that the moment of waking corresponded with the moment of eating. That’s Murphy’s Law at work.

    Although I’m infamously not a fan of pumpking, I’d give this chorizo-and-chipotle-infested soup a try. Those are some of my favorite things.

  6. Oh, how I love you guys. Hang in there — I hear the first few months are the hardest, but you’ll be back to your old tricks again in no time.

    Then again, I’d say you’re doing pretty well already. That pumpkin feast looks amazing. And those sweet & spicy seeds are making me all drooly inside.

  7. Appreciate him while it lasts; childhood goes so darn fast. Your soup is super looking and tastes even better I’d bet. And, the pumpkin seeds do make a great snack.

  8. Aww, I miss the baby days! My husband thinks I am nuts but I am ready for another.

    This pumpkin soup looks delicious … love all the spices and finishing touches you’ve added.

    1. @Helene – I can only imagine it was a challenge to put any kind of meal on the table! It’s funny, the more we share our anguish at the exhaustion and emotion of being new parents, the more we learn that our baby really isn’t a bad kid at all!

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