There is a sacred ritual that I undertake each fall; it involves a Pumpkin Spice Latte and a walk through Central Park while the leaves are changing. It always reminds me why I love living in NYC, and bolsters me for the coming cold months when I curse the city and its sloshy streets, bitter wind, and snow piles taller than me. On the crisp autumn day that I complete my ritual, the sun is always shining, my latte is hot and oh-so-pumpkiny, and January couldn’t seem farther away.
To me, pumpkin = fall, and fall = my favorite season; therefore pumpkin = happiness. My logic is irrefutable and undeniable, and I am not ashamed to admit that I even had a pumpkin pie filled donut from Dunkin’ Donuts the other day. Well, maybe I am a little ashamed. But I just admitted it anyway, because it was damn tasty.
I’ve also been shamelessly sprinkling pumpkin spice on my coffee grounds in the morning, and then promptly whipping up a pumpkin pie smoothie for breakfast.
I admit it might be a sickness… but the only cure I know of is more pumpkin.
So I cooked up a batch of my oh-so-creamy pumpkin soup, a soup so delicious, so smooth, so perfectly balanced, a French friend of mine declared it was the best (the best!) soup she had ever tasted. And she was French, so that is really saying something. I can’t say I disagree.
When you make this soup – as you must, because a) it is Soup Month and 2) Soup Month just happens to be October, AKA pumpkin primetime – please use a real pumpkin, not canned. They are soooo easy to cook with, and once you see the bright orange color of fresh pumpkin puree you will never want to use the orangey-brown canned stuff again!
Spiced Cream of Pumpkin Soup
Time: 1h30 minutes (active time 30 minutes)
Servings: 4 large, 6-8 small
Adapted from this recipe
- 2 T butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped – about 3 cups
- 1 large (or 2 small) garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1 lb floury white potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2.5 cups of pumpkin flesh, in chunks
- 2.5-3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock or broth, depending on how thick you like your soup
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- crumbled bacon or pancetta
- good croutons
- roasted pumpkin seeds
- chives or other green herbs
Check out my post on preparing pumpkin. Basically, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and gunk, and roast at 350 degrees until tender. Don’t forget to roast those pumpkin seeds at the same time – they’re too good to go to waste! Once the pumpkin is done, scrape the flesh from the skin; you’ll need about 2.5 cups for this soup, and you can reserve the rest for another use.
Heat the butter in a soup pot and saute the onion and garlic. Sprinkle the onions with a little salt to help them give off some liquid. Sprinkle in the dried sage.
Add the potatoes and pumpkin, stir well, and cook for 5 minutes, then add in the stock/broth. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the ginger and lemon juice.
Transfer the soup in batches to a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender. Blend thoroughly until quite smooth, adding more stock if needed to achieve desired consistency.
Return the blended soup to the pot, and add the cream, stirring well to combine. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve garnished with freshly grated nutmeg (a must!), and optionally herbs, croutons, pumpkin seeds, or crumbled bacon.
Now, what to do with all that leftover pumpkin puree? Try my suggestions here, especially the pumpkin cheesecake trifles.
One year ago…
Pasta a la Pisticci, and a dinner party (where I served the afore-mentioned pumpkin soup!)