One of my favorite things about fall has to be the richly flavored foods and more specifically the large selection of hearty soups. Nothing tastes better after coming in from crisp Autumn weather than a steaming bowl of homemade soup, whether it’s creamy butternut squash or stick-to-your-ribs chili, and the good news is that soups are usually quite simple to make, can be produced in large batches and taste just as great heated up later (AND make your kitchen smell delicious as you cook)!
In the true spirit of fall, I’ve decided to go with the quintessential ingredient of the season — pumpkin — for my soup of choice tonight, and upon scouring recipe sites have found that this classic soup has been reinvented in several creative, innovative ways. Check out some of the most delicious-sounding — and unique — recipes that I came across (and some classics too, of course):
1. Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup:
Using Thai curry paste and coconut milk, this recipe puts a spicy spin on the traditional smooth pumpkin flavor.
2 acorn squash, pumpkins, or other smallish winter squash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon (or more) red Thai curry paste
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt (or to taste)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven racks in the middle.
Carefully cut each squash/pumpkin into halves (or quarters). Slather each piece of squash with butter, sprinkle generously with salt, place on a baking sheet skin sides down, and place in the oven. Roast for about an hour or until the squash is tender throughout.
When the pumpkin/squash are cool enough to handle scoop it into a large pot over medium high heat. Add the coconut milk and curry paste and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender, you should have a very thick base at this point. Now add water a cup at a time pureeing between additions until the soup is the consistency you prefer – a light vegetable stock would work here as well. Bring up to a simmer again and add the salt (and more curry paste if you like, I used just shy of 6 teaspoons but the curry paste I use is not over-the-top spicy).
2. Southwestern Pumpkin Soup
Chili powder and sharp cheddar cheese lend a Southwestern kick to this flavorful soup.
3 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
3 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (packed) grated sharp cheddar cheese
chopped fresh cilantro
Bring chicken stock and whipping cream to boil in heavy medium pot. Whisk in canned pumpkin, brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, coriander and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until soup thickens slightly and flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Soup can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cool. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally.) Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish each serving with cheddar cheese and cilantro and serve.
3. Vegan Pumpkin Soup
Keeping this pumpkin soup creamy sans dairy is no issue with almond milk lending a rich texture and delicious flavor to the mix.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow bermuda onion, diced
1 small cooking pumpkin
1 1/3 cups organic vegetable broth
3 cups almond milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds
Cut your pumpkin in half and then remove seeds with a spoon. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and roast with the skin on for about 30 minutes, until a fork easily punctures the meat all the way through to the skin. Add pumpkin to a blender and blend continuously until smooth. You may need to add 1 to 3 tbsp of water to produce the puree. Sauté onion in olive oil until softened a bit.
Add in pumpkin, broth, almond milk, nutmeg, sugar, ginger, salt, and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender to combine or add to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Push through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Garnish with pumpkin seeds if you like.
4. Apple Pumpkin Soup
The addition of granny smith apples and brown sugar to the pumpkin in this soup produces the perfect mix of tartness and sweetness.
2 – 15 oz cans pumpkin puree
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2/3 cups applesauce
2 granny smith, or other tart apples, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cream
Preheat large soup pot. Drizzle with olive oil. Add diced onion, apples and a little kosher salt. Saute until onions are translucent. Add chicken or vegetable stock, apple sauce, and spices. Bring to a boil and cook until apples are very tender.
Add pumpkin and brown sugar and cook for 10 – 15 minutes over medium heat. Use a submersible blender to blend soup until it is smooth. You can also use your blender to blend the soup in batches. Add cream to soup and heat through, but do not boil. Add more cream or water if desired to thin out more. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried apple slices or hazelnuts.
5. Classic Pumpkin Soup
Sometimes nothing is as good as the original. To be served with whichever spices or seeds you choose, in front of a crackling fire.
1 medium sugar pumpkin
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium red onions, diced
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in bottom 1/3 of oven. Cut ten deep slits in pumpkin flesh in various places with a sharp knife and place pumpkin in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until flesh is tender, about an hour. Cut pumpkin in half to accelerate cooling and allow to rest at room temperature until cool enough to handle.
Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, scoop out seeds and stringy pulp from pumpkin, reserving seeds for another use. When onions are tender, scoop pumpkin flesh into Dutch oven. Add stock, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Simmer for about 15 minutes to give flavors a chance to blend.
Remove Dutch oven from heat. Puree soup with immersion blender or carefully, in batches, in regular blender. Stir in cream and maple syrup, and taste for salt and pepper. Reheat gently if desired. Serve warm.
What’s your favorite pumpkin soup recipe?