Pumpkin Soup - Photo by Nina Wurtzel
Here’s a great dish for the season – nice for a fall dinner or for a part of your Thanksgiving feast.
The best pumpkins to use for this are called Cheese Pumpkins. They may be hard to find unless you have a farmer’s market nearby. You can use regular pumpkins or other winter squash such as butternut, acorn, delicata, or hubbard. The roasting of the squash is what gives this soup it’s characteristic flavor so be sure not to skimp on this step. Once the squash is roasted the soup cooks quickly so it doesn’t really take longer overall. I havent tried this soup with canned pumpkin but alot of recipes suggest using it so you could give it a shot. I usually use canned pumpkin for pies so I’m not opposed to it on principle.
What I like about this version of pumpkin soup is its simplicity and versatility. Seasonings can be varied depending on what style you want. Try adding fresh chopped ginger and five spice powder for a more Asian style. Or try cumin, garlic, and fresh cilantro for a South American twist. Curry also works well with squash.
Try different liquids as well – chicken stock, white wine, or apple cider would all work – but probably best in combination with water. If you want to experiment just taste as you go along – and stick with the vegetable to liquid ratio.
Additionally, some recipes call for onions or leeks (gently cooked in butter or oil) as an additional flavoring. I dont add them in here but if you want to just use about one cup of onion/leeks per pound of squash.
Finally, you can play around with different garnishes too. Any kind of toasted croutons work well with soup – sourdough, cornbread, etc. In this recipe I use toasted pumkin seeds but nuts would work well too.
As with most soups it is best made a day or two ahead so the flavors can comingle and the cook can taste it with a fresh palate!
Roasted Pumpkin Soup (Yields about 8 servings)
*Ratio of vegetable to liquid is 3 cups liquid per pound of squash*
2 pounds pumpkin or winter squash – cut into 3″ pieces and seeds removed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups liquid (I use 1/2 Water and 1/2 fresh squeezed orange juice)
zest of one orange
1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
4 T. honey
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Optional to finish soup:
8 Tbsp unsalted butter or 1/2 cup heavy cream
Toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) – about 1 Tbsp per person – toasted with spices and a pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400F.
Toss pumpkin or squash with vegetable oil and lay out on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for about 30-40 minutes turning occasionally to ensure even browning. Make sure squash is very tender so that it will puree smoothly. Allow to cool slightly.
Scoop the flesh from the skin and place in a 4 qt. saucepan. Add the liquids and seasonings, bring to a boil, then simmer about 30 minutes.
Puree with a hand blender or in a regular blender but be very careful not to fill blender more than halfway with soup to avoid blowing the top off and burning yourself. Taste soup and adjust seasonings if needed. Add additional liquid if you think the soup is too thick.
To serve – reheat soup and add optional butter or cream. Top with pumpkin seeds. Some Chefs serve this soup in a hollowed out pumkin for dramatic effect – it’s up to you if you want to go that route.