We recently had a visit from some friends who’ve spent ten years living in Sweden. Our friend Joel was eager to share this recipe for fresh pumpkin soup with us. It’s their favorite winter-time warm-up soup. Today, more to the point, it allows me to start using up some Thanksgiving leftovers! I’m going to recycle our table-decorating pie pumpkin into this rich, delicious soup.
This soup took me several hours to prepare, but it didn’t really need to take that long. I’ll share some shortcuts that I figured out for next time I make it.
Fresh Pumpkin Soup
Start by sautéing the following in the bottom of your largest stock pot:
- 4 onions, chopped coarsely
- 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely
- 1 pound of bacon
Cook until the onions and garlic are caramellized. Drain the bacon grease off and set aside.
In a very large stock pot, simmer the following until they are all fork-tender:
- 1 pumpkin, 4-6 pounds, skinned, seeded, and cut into 2 inch cubes
- 4-6 potatoes, cubed
- 6 carrots, coarsely chopped
- enough water to cover the veggies (I actually used chicken stock and this increased the depth of flavor and richness in this soup)
Add the bacon, onions, and garlic in and simmer together for about 20 minutes.
Put everything through the food processor or the blender to make it smooth and creamy.
Pour it all back into the stock pot and season with:
- 3 t. sea salt (or to taste)
- 3 t. coarsely ground pepper
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. allspice
- 1/4 t. nutmeg (optional. I don’t like nutmeg at all so I left this out)
Simmer the soup for up to two hours. Right before serving, there’s one more optional step. If you are lactose intolerant or committed to lowfat cooking (although if that’s the case, we should revisit the bacon issue too), then just serve the soup now. If you want to turn this into an A+++ soup, stir in the following:
- 1 pint half and half
- 1 c. sour cream
We initially garnished this soup with fresh basil but found that really over-powered the more subtle flavors of the pumpkin. The second time we had this soup, which incidentally was even better than the first, we just served it with homemade sourdough bread. It was perfect and we all discussed what an amazingly perfect dinner it would be to eat after a full day of skiing. We haven’t HAD a full day of skiing because we haven’t had snow for that yet, but I’m filing this away for future reference.
The thing I really like about this recipe is that there is quite a bit of flex to it. To make it vegetarian, just leave out the bacon. It IS gluten-free already. To make it dairy free, leave out the 1/2 and 1/2 and the sour cream. To make it low-fat, leave out the bacon and the dairy products. If you aren’t worried about fat at all, this soup would be delicious with 8 ounces of cream cheese melted into it. Grated asiago cheese on top would be a nice garnish too.
To make the preparation of this soup go a little faster, I’ll cook my pumpkin in the oven first and scrape all the pumpkin out of the skin after it’s soft. Peeling the uncooked pumpkin was hard work and quite time-consuming. I’ll add the cooked pumpkin when I add the onions, garlic, and bacon back in.
So….I’m using up my fresh pumpkin and looking around for what other creative leftover ideas I can employ to use up all these Thanksgiving leftovers!
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