Monday, December 9, 2013

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

I have a confession to make. The real reason I made this pumpkin soup for 12 Weeks of Winter Squash was so I could serve it in my Jack Skellington (aka the Pumpkin King) mug because, let's be honest, it's pretty awesome.

That said, the contents of said mug can also hold its own when it comes to awesomeness. This recipe is based on a simpler pumpkin soup recipe I made years ago, but I recently decided to kick it up a notch by added a few more layers of flavor. Some garlic and crushed Urfa chili were my main additions, along with some fresh sage.

I recently made my own pumpkin puree, which I used for the fabulous Pumpkin-Pecan Scones with Maple Glaze I shared a week ago. In preparing the puree, one of the steps was to strain off excess liquid to help the puree thicken to the right consistency.

This pumpkin juice, if you will, was hanging out in my fridge when I decided to make this soup, and it seemed like the perfect occasion to use it! You can easily replace that 1/2 cup with more broth or stock, but I'm including it here in case anyone else decides to make their own pumpkin puree!

This soup is creamy and flavorful, without being too heavy. It has a bit of a kick from the Urfa chili, but not so much as to label this a spicy pumpkin soup. I garnished it with a fresh sage leaf, but in retrospect frying up that bad boy would have been a smarter decision, adding a tiny crunch. Either way, this is winter comfort at its best.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup
Serves 6

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed Urfa chili
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
3 cups chicken broth or stock
1/2 cup pumpkin juice (from making fresh pumpkin puree) or chicken broth or stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, crushed chili, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree, broth, pumpkin juice, chopped sage and thyme and raise the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer. Once it starts to bubble, lower the heat slightly and simmer for 10 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth, or alternatively use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the saucepan. Stir in the heavy cream and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper, as desired. Serve hot.


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