Food recipe: Soup, soup, beautiful soup

Vegetable Food Recipe Week, The Sequel: Day 3
The tarte from yesterday was lovely, wasn't it? Flavorful, but so easy to make. Well, if you liked that, you are sure to like the treat we have for you today.

From The Traveler's Lunchbox, this amazing soup was described by one of Melissa's friends as " ... a hot pumpkin colada."
Food recipe: Pumpkin, Coconut and Rum Soup
Source: adapted from Axel Wichterich at the Marblue Domicil in Treasure Beach, Jamaica
Yield: serves 6-8
Notes: Axel's secret 'trick' with this soup is to let it age for several hours (or even overnight) before serving it, and I have to agree that this really improves the flavor. If you don't have time for this, rest assured that it will still taste great (just try to save some leftovers so you can see what I mean). My colleagues were pretty blown away when I brought some of the soup in to work last week, although my friend Dharshi, upon hearing the ingredient list, did say "so it's kind of like a hot pumpkin colada." Pumpkin, coconut, rum - she may have a point there...

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 bunch scallions/spring onions (about 10), white and pale green parts only, sliced
about 2 lbs (1 kg) pumpkin flesh, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (you can substitute any flavorful winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, hubbard, etc)
2 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 scotch bonnet pepper, *carefully* stemmed and chopped (wear something on your hands!), or a few dashes scotch bonnet/habanero hot sauce (optional)
5-6 cups (about 1.5l) chicken or vegetable stock
1 can (14oz/400ml) coconut milk
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar (optional, you might find your squash makes the soup sweet enough)
1/3 cup (80ml) dark rum, or more to taste
additional sliced scallions or chives, for garnish

In a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Stir in the garlic and scallions and cook for another minute or two until softened. Add the cubed pumpkin, the carrots, scotch bonnet pepper, stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, for about 35-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely soft and the liquid has reduced slightly. Remove from the heat and puree, either in a blender (in batches, and with the lid clamped down tight), or with an immersion (stick) blender. Return to the pot, stir in the sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and the rum. Cover and set aside for several hours or overnight (in which case, refrigerate).

Just before serving, reheat the soup to boiling and let boil vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with a garnish of thinly-sliced scallions or chives.
The first dish we did this week and this dish both call for coconut milk. I suspect I am having a craving here. Of course, the fact that there is a wonderful Jamaican restaurant at the end of my street - wafting glorious smells under my nose every time I go past - can't help. But I know what will, so I'm off to buy pumpkin and rum and ...

But not before I invite you to tomorrow's Vegetable Food Recipe Week, The Sequel, where, if you have any doubt about what to do with an eggplant, you doubts will be quickly and happily dealt with. Now, where's my wallet?