Fall is here and I find myself making a lot of orange food. Pumpkin soup is simple to make, satisfying, and comforting. You could use any hard squash for this recipe, like butternut, dumpling, delicate, acorn, or kabocha. What distinguishes pumpkin from other hard squash is its delicate flavor. This is a squash soup that even a tentative squash eater will love.
Serves 4-6; makes approximately 6 cups soup
- 1 small pumpkin, approximately 2 ¼ pounds
- 1 small leek, white part only, washed throughly and coarsely chopped (may substitute 1 medium onion)
- 1 ½ tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
- 4 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
- 1/4-1/2 cup cream, to taste (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
Roast the pumpkin. Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half and place it seed side down on a roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan. Roast the pumpkin 30 minutes or until it is soft when pierced with a knife or skewer.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and cool slightly.
While the pumpkin is cooling, heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the butter or oil. Next add the leek and cook, stirring often, until the leek is soft and translucent.
Scoop the seeds* from the inside of the cooled pumpkin, and then peel the skin off. Add the cooked pumpkin to the cooked leeks in the pot.
Next, add the stock or water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for several minutes to allow the flavors of the leeks and pumpkin to meld.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then puree in small batches in a blender or food processor. Or, use a stick-type blender right in the pot. Or, mash with a potato masher. Add the cream if using. (For pumpkin soup I really like a bit of cream; it makes it particularly luscious.)
Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Garnish the soup if desired with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream or a sprinkle of minced chives or scallions.
Use another variety of winter squash (pumpkin, acorn, delicate, kabocha, etc.)
Add 1-2 teaspoons curry powder to the leeks. Stir and cook for several seconds before adding the squash and liquid.
Substitute some coconut milk for the stock or water. The curry powder is good with this version.
Add 1 tablespoon or more fresh grated ginger. Sauté the ginger with the leeks.
Add sweet/warm spices such as ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice or cloves with the garlic. Start with a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of one or more and increase the amount to taste.
*Pumpkin seeds are delicious as well. You can remove and rinse the seeds from the cooked pumpkin and then lay them out on a clean roasting pan. Sprinkle them with salt if desired. Toss well to distribute the salt. Return them to the oven and toast until dry and toasted. Cool, crack off the outer hull, and enjoy.