One Dish Chicken, Tomatoes, and Rice

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I’m trying to eat more rice these days, and it’s been easy so far with delicious and simple dishes like this one. I then froze a chunk of this and it was oh-so-good, even leftover!

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I had picked up some pre-seasoned chicken thighs from Farm Boy a while back and that was my base of things to go with. You can use unseasoned skinless chicken thighs, if you want: this is just what I had. I also had a litre of chicken broth, a 14oz can diced tomatoes, a 244g package of wild rice, a large sweet onion, and some pearl barley.

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Photography tip: never photograph food in the full harsh light of the afternoon sun.

 

I also grabbed a healthy handful of pre-mixed Italian seasoning. While I was grabbing these things I preheated my oven to 350°F.

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Clearly I am not very good at photography.

 

So I cut the onion in half and because it was so huge I only diced up half of it.

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Or in following my own instructions.

 

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More’s the pity.

 

On to my grains.

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I wanted about two cups of the grains so that I could use all 4 cups of my chicken broth.

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There was some math that needed to be done – I only hoped the juice from the tomatoes didn’t make things mushy.

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So first I softened the onions in my big skillet with some butter and olive oil.

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Then I tipped in the tomatoes and the broth.

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Then the uncooked grains.

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I added a tablespoon or two of the Italian seasoning. Then I gave it a good stir.

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Then I slid in the chicken thighs so they were as on the top as possible. I could definitely have doubled the amount of chicken I used, considering how much leftover rice I had.

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Then I hucked the whole thing in the oven for about an hour. You don’t even need to stir it.

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And then this gorgeousness was born. Holy moly is it good!

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Hot and Sour Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

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This comes from The Foodess and it might be THE BEST THING EVER.  I love hot and sour soup, as does Atlas, so I made this with her in mind and everyone who ate it LOVED it.

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Start with with a giant pot and chuck in 2 litres of chicken broth. I like the low-salt stuff. Add 2 cups water to that.

Now slice some stuff up. Take some ginger, a 2″ knob.

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Peel that and slice it up.

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Grab 2 stalks lemongrass, and peel off the outer bits.

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Slice it into 2″ lengths. I also cut mine in half lengthwise, to increase the lemongrass flavour’s exposure to the broth.

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Grab a handful of kaffir lime leaves (about 8-10). You can freeze the other ones for later.

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So you’ve got all this stuff.

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Chuck all that in the pot with the broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, stuff the lid on and leave it for 30 minutes.

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In the meantime, grab yourself some mushrooms. The recipe called for 2 cups whole button mushrooms but I had shiitake on hand, so I cut off the woody stems and sliced them into strips instead.

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Slice up a cup of cherry tomatoes as well.

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Grab 2 oz dried noodles, any kind. I liked the look of this ditali stuff.

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You’re also going to need a cold roasted chicken, like the kind you get at the grocery store. I used to be leery of the fact that they sat out for so long, but then I talked to someone who worked at a grocery store and he said they sold so fast they were always making new ones. And they’re such a time-saver!

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Anyway, take that sucker and pick it apart, shredding the meat with your fingers. You’re going to need 2 cups shredded chicken, so I just did the whole bird and got a little more than that.

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Juice 3 limes and set that aside for a minute.

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Gather together as well a giant bunch of baby spinach leaves, and chop them coarsely. It’s harder than it looks.

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Chop up as well a giant handful of cilantro. I had a brainfart in the grocery store and bought Italian parsley by mistake and had to go back. But they are very similar in appearance. So I chucked in some Italian parsley too.

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While you’re gathering your stuff together, grab some fish sauce and sriracha, and some sea salt.

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Use a slotted spoon to remove the ginger, lemongrass, and lime leaves from the broth. You can chuck those bits in the compost now.

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Add in the mushrooms, tomatoes, and noodles. Bring those puppies back to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, until the noodles are tender.

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Stir in the chicken, 4-6 tablespoons sriracha (I used 2 tablespoons because of the nursing mum, and it was spicy enough), the lime juice, and a few teaspoons fish sauce. Add some salt to taste.

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Add in your spinach and cilantro and cook that for a minute or so until everything is bright green. Serve hot, with additional cilantro on top, if desired. Fantastic the next day.

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Turkey and Leek Pie

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

While you’re spending the day prepping for your big turkey feast (or, if you celebrated yesterday, cleaning up afterwards), why don’t you consider what you can do with the leftover bits of that big bird?

I cooked this little baby up after watching a Jamie Oliver Christmas special on the plane home to Ottawa last December, and I served it to the lovely folks at our annual potluck.  It’s super easy, super tasty, and a great way to eat up all that leftover turkey.  And the best part about Jamie Oliver is he’s big on improvisation.  If you watch the videos for his recipes they never end up matching the recipes themselves, and that adds immensely to his charm.

Make sure you have a good package of unthawed frozen puff pastry lying around. I get the President’s Choice brand stuff and it comes in two blocks, which is perfect for our purposes here.

Then you’ll need 2kg leeks.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Leeks are super dirty. My mother told me that as the leeks grow they bury the stems in more dirt in order to keep that stem as pale and tender as possible.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

This means you’ll need to clean them well. I find the easiest way to do so is to cut off the scraggly top ends and then slice the whole thing in half lengthwise. Pop those babies in a sink full of water and swish away until all the dirt is gone. Then give them a good shake to drain out the excess water.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Now, chop up those leeks. Make the pale ends a bit chunkier, but slice the tougher green ends up really thin.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Now, take a large, fat saucepan with a lid and chuck in the leaves of about half a bunch of fresh thyme.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Chop up a couple of slices of nice bacon, add a glug or two of olive oil, and cook that for a wee bit on high to medium-high.

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Pour in your chopped leeks and let them cook for about three minutes on high.

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Then add in some salt and pepper, pop the lid on, and turn the heat down to medium. Let that cook for about thirty minutes, stirring every 5-10, to make sure nothing sticks.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

While that’s on the go, chop up your leftover turkey. You’ll need about 800g grams of turkey, chopped or torn into big chunks. Light meat, dark meat, whatever floats your boat. I like half and half, because the dark stuff has more flavour. If you have leftover stuffing it will make a great contribution as well. Huck that into your leek pot when the leeks are done.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons flour and stir that to fully combine it with the leeks and turkey.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Then add in 2 pints of stock — turkey, chicken, vegetable, mushroom, whatever you want.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

And 2 heaping tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream (or even plain greek yogurt if that’s what you have).

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Give that a good stir and bring it back to a boil for a minute. Add more salt and pepper to taste if you like, then turn off the heat.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Pour your leek mixture through a sieve into a pot to get some lovely gravy out of this. Removing the gravy now will also make sure your pie doesn’t end up soggy, and if you drain it directly into a pot then you can easily heat it up before you serve it.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Preheat your oven to 375°F and lay your leek mixture out in a buttered 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Dust a work surface with flour and roll out a segment of pastry so that it is a few inches larger than your pan size on all sides. If you just have one piece of pastry, then roll it out so it’s double the pan size (you will then fold one side over the other).

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Crumble some chestnuts and fresh sage leaves over the pastry (or half the pastry if you’re folding).

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Fold the other half on top or roll out the other piece and place it on top of the first and press down a bit to seal the chestnuts and sage inside.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Lay the pastry across your pan and tuck the ends in underneath the mixture on all the sides.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

With a sharp knife score the whole pastry surface diagonally.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

If you wish you can put an egg wash on at this point by beating an egg, adding a pinch of salt, and brushing that over the top of the pastry, but I didn’t bother. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until your pastry is puffy and golden brown. Serve warm with the reheated gravy. It is so excellent.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

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This warm bowl of rosy goodness reminds me a bit of my winged red soup from ages ago (which I may try to recreate in the future) and it’s just as easy.  I made a heckuva lot of this, mostly to freeze for Krystopf and Atlas for after the baby comes, so feel free to cut this recipe into thirds for more reasonable servings.

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You’re going to need 3 heads garlic;

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3 red onions;

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24 ripe roma tomatoes;

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and about 18 large red peppers.

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Preheat your oven to 450°F.  Peel the garlic and cut each clove in half.  Chop up the onions as well and chuck them in a roasting pan (I divided them between three roasting pans).

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Chop up the tomatoes and red peppers and put them in the pans as well.

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Drizzle with olive oil, dust with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

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Roast the vegetables for 25-35 minutes, or until they are soft and starting to char.

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Meanwhile, bring a pot with about 2 litres stock (chicken, vegetable, whatever) to a boil.

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When the vegetables are ready, chuck them in the broth and give it a good stir.  Add several dashes of Tabasco Sauce and remove it from the heat.

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Have a go at it with an immersion blender and then season with salt, pepper, and more Tabasco as desired.  Serve hot (or cold).  The flavour intensifies over a couple of days and it freezes great.

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Aw Yiss. Some Motha. Flippin’. Tomato Soup.

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I don’t know why I felt the need to use that title.  I just DID.  Also, in case you didn’t recognize the meme, Canadian comic artist Kate Beaton is awesome and you should read her stuff.

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What do you do when you are moving and you have too many cans of tomatoes in your pantry, and your husband has left an open can of tomato paste in your refrigerator?

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I think we all know the answer to this.  It’s in the title after all.  Besides, nothing says summer in Newfoundland like a big bowl of hot soup.  And I’m not even kidding.  I haven’t seen the sun in a while and as I write this it is raining and 7°C.  Now you can use fresh tomatoes in this soup, and I’m sure there’s a good argument for doing so, because the taste is so much better and whatever.  Personally, if I have a nice fresh tomato in my hands, I’m going to want to eat it as is, not simmer it in a soup.  But to each his own.

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If you do decide to use fresh tomatoes, I recommend blanching them first to get the skins off.  Put a put of water on the boil and when it’s a-rollin’, submerge your tomatoes in the water for about a minute and a half, until the skins start to split.

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Remove the tomatoes from the pot and plunge them into a bowl of cold water (to stop the tomatoes from cooking and going mushy).

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Then you can just peel them easy as you please.

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Take a few carrots, peel them, and chop them up.

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Do the same with a large sweet onion.

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You know when you are reading real estate listings and you have to sort of translate them to understand what the sellers are trying to tell you?  Like, “cozy” means “small”, “quaint” means that none of the doors are level and won’t shut properly, and “rustic” means “broken”.  I think you can apply almost the same principle to food.  At least in terms of soups.  When I read that a soup is “hearty” that tells me that there’s more stuff in it than liquid.  And when I read “rustic” I understand that the creators were just too lazy to cut everything up extra small.  So by that logic pretty much everything I ever make is “rustic.”

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Sauté the onions in a large saucepan with a gob of vegetable oil until they are soft and transparent.

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Now you can huck in your spices.  I used some minced garlic, smoked paprika, and then some powdered chicken stock.  Give that a good stir.

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Now you can add in your tomatoes (I used 2 cans plus the 2 fresh ones I blanched) and your carrots.  I didn’t drain my canned tomatoes because I wanted the liquid.  If you’re using fresh tomatoes you may want to add in a bit of water. Plop in a can of tomato paste as well, to thicken it up.

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Simmer that for a while until the carrots are soft.  Now you can leave this in its hearty, rustic state, or you can give it a whaz with your handy immersion blender and mix it up.

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I chose the latter, obviously.

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Then I took a can of evaporated milk that Mrs. Nice had purchased for undisclosed reasons and poured that in. Uh, don’t, you know, confuse evaporated milk with condensed milk. I don’t think that would end well.

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Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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I would have loved to serve it with fresh basil but dried had to do.  Yum!

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The King of Cream Soups

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This is a variation on my other cream of broccoli soup recipe, but I like this one better because it uses less cream and the thickener is cauliflower instead of starchy potatoes.

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And I have called it the king of cream soups because it’s my favourite of them all.

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And also because I found this old cushion cover embroidered by one of my great aunts and decided it would make a nice backdrop.

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Start with your vegetables: onions, broccoli, and cauliflower. I ended up making a relatively small soup, so I only used 1 onion, 2 heads broccoli, and half a head cauliflower.

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Chop the onion up relatively fine and heave it in a pot with some olive oil and some minced garlic. Sautée that on medium heat until the onions are translucent.

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While that’s on the go, chop up your broccoli.

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Shave the tough skin off the stems and use that as well.

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Broccoli is good for you, so use it all.

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Do the same with the cauliflower.

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Heave those in the pot as well, and give them a stir.

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At this point I added about 4 cups chicken stock, but you can use as much as you’d like, or water, or any other stock.  Enough to make a soup of it, I guess.

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Then I simmered it until I could squish the cauliflower with the back of my spoon (broccoli will become squishier faster, so the cauliflower should be your test).

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Then out comes my brszzht — I mean, immersion blender.

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And now you add the sauciness: here we have dijon mustard, Worcestershire (“wooster”) sauce, a dash of cream and two big spoonfuls of plain yogurt. Give those a good stir to mix.

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Serve it hot (I guess you could serve it cold if you liked, but that’s weird) with some grated cheddar cheese.

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Fit for royalty?  Absolutely.

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Pumpkin Soup

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Right.  So.  In my effort to effectively use all the pumpkin purée left over from our Pumpkin-Off, all 14 cups of it, we are starting to get sick of pumpkin (though the amount of fibre that has been added to our diet is extraordinary).

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The solution?  SOUP.  Most pumpkin soup recipes call for a single can (a little less than 2 cups) of the stuff, but I’m just gonna giv’er and dump in the rest of what I got.  BLAM.  It came out to about 2 1/2 cups.

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I don’t really feel like blending this soup, because the pumpkin is pre-puréed, so I’m just going to cut everything else up really small. It’s a really quick recipe, too, no need to simmer for a long time, so you can make it, say, just before lunch, and then eat it right away.

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First I got my spices ready: minced garlic, a little bit of cumin, some curry, and a bit of chipotle.

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And the incidentals: lemon juice (don’t mock my plastic lemon, it’s the best I can do in Newfoundland), chicken broth, and coconut milk.

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Then my vegetables: three carrots, an onion, and a red pepper.

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The carrots I scrubbed and grated with the skins still on.  That’s good vitamins for ya.

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The red pepper and onion I diced up.

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In a large saucepan, then, heat up a bit of olive oil on medium-high and toss in your onions.  Cook those until they’re softened.

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Then add in your cup o’spices, and stir that around for a minute or so.

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Chuck in your grated carrot and diced pepper and stir that around as well, spritz it with lemon juice, then add in your coconut milk and stir until fully incorporated.

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Add in the pumpkin finally (it was already cooked, so I didn’t want to overcook it), and pour in the chicken broth until you’ve reached a consistency that you like.  Let that simmer for about 20 minutes and that’s it, you’re all done.

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Season with salt and pepper, and a little more lemon if you like.  At the eleventh hour I added a teaspoon ground cloves to boost the pumpkin.

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This one came out a bit spicy, because I guess my curry was hotter than I had previously thought. I would recommend serving with a bit of yogurt or sour cream.

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