Spicy Harvest Pumpkin Soup
By Hannah Palfrey
So it’s fall again and you know what that means: pumpkin-flavored everything will be popping up in your everyday life. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin flavored beer, pumpkin flavored coffee, pumpkin flavored pumpkin… oh wait. Anyway, if you’re like me you may have decided to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon. I decided I would try making not a dessert or drink, but something savory… soup.
I based my recipe one I found on through foodgawker, altering a few ingredients so that the soup appealed to my taste buds. If you’re an avid cook, you may have a number of the ingredients already since they are pantry staples. If you do have to go out and buy the ingredients, the soup should cost you no more than $15. This recipe yields about 4-6 servings (with 140 calories per 1 cup of soup).A few years ago, I was eating dinner at a friend’s house and his father served us homemade pumpkin soup. I was hesitant at first, thinking it would taste something like liquid pumpkin pie, but to my surprise it was savory, filling, and a bit spicy (so if you’re not crazy about sweet pumpkin-flavored things, this might actually be for you). I remembered how much I liked this soup, so decided to take on the challenge and make my own. Pumpkin soup a nice change from your everyday chicken noodle or minestrone. The health bonus? Pumpkin is full of fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins – not to mention low in calories (Bonus points go to the person who can guess how many times I say “pumpkin” in this article).
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced (more onions = thicker soup, less = thinner soup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, depending on how much spice you like)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable stock to make it vegetarian)
1 (15-oz) can pure pumpkin purée
1 ½ cups water
¼ – ½ cup half-and-half (also optional, though I did like the consistency it gave my soup)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
The thing I like best about making soup is that you can taste it as you go along and make sure it is to your liking. If you’re unsure about how much spice you like, it’s always better to start out with less and add more as you go along. The amounts above are just base guidelines; I added more spices as I went along. I definitely recommend test-tasting it every few minutes if you’re picky about quality like I am.
- In a large, non-stick cooking pot, melt butter and add onions. Cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, ginger, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about one minute.
- Stir in chicken broth, pumpkin purée, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the soup from heat and allow to cool slightly. Once it’s cooled down, pour contents into a blender or food processor (*be careful – all of the soup may not fit into one container if you have a small appliance; do it in two steps in you need to). Blend until smooth. Though waiting for it to cool down may be annoying, it’s a good idea – I was impatient and accidentally exploded burning hot soup onto my hands from our faulty blender.
- Return the blended soup to the pot and continue to cook on medium heat. Stir in cream, if desired. Cook until soup has warmed back up; serve with salt and pepper to taste.
The blog I found this recipe on suggests serving it with bleu cheese or pumpkin seeds. I served mine with cornbread, which I thought complimented the flavors nicely. Since the recipe made extra, I refrigerated some and froze the rest. I warmed up some leftover soup today and it tasted just as good as when it was fresh. I expect that I’ll continue making this soup until pumpkin season is over.
*Images by Hannah Palfrey