Soups don’t have to be complicated, as this simple pumpkin soup shows. This was originally a butternut squash soup recipe in Cooking for Geeks, but like any good geek—that’d be anyone who’s curious how things works and is willing to play with things—I thought, “Hey, pumpkin is a gourd, too; so that should work!” Sure enough, it does. And with hundreds of millions of pumpkins showing up on doorsteps across our nation today (November 1st), it’s also a great way to reuse, reduce, and recycle!
Purée in a food processor or with an immersion blender:
– 2 cups (660g) pumpkin, peeled, cubed, and roasted (about 1/2 a small “pie” pumpkin)
– 2 cups (470g) chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock 1 small
– (130g) yellow onion, diced and sautéed
– 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
I’m a huge fan of weighing ingredients out, instead of using volume measurements. Whether you use weight or volume, keep in mind that the quantities are for the prepared ingredients and are only rough suggestions. Prepare each item individually. For example, for the pumpkin, peel it, then coat it with olive oil, sprinkle it with salt, and roast it in the oven at a temperature around 400–425°F / 200–220°C until it begins to brown. When you go to purée the ingredients, hold back some of the pumpkin and some of the stock, taste the purée, and see which you think it needs. Want it thicker? Add more pumpkin. Thinner? Add more stock.
This soup by itself is very basic. Garnish with whatever else you have on hand that you think might go well, such as garlic croutons and bacon. Or top with a small dab of cream, some toasted walnuts, and dried cranberries to give it a feeling of Thanksgiving. How about a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few thin slices of beef, and some fresh oregano? Chives, sour cream, and cheddar cheese? Why not! Instead of purchasing items to follow a recipe exactly, try using leftover ingredients from other meals to complement the squash soup.
If you’re in a rush, you can “jump-start” the pumpkin by microwaving it first. Peel and quarter the pumpkin, using a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then, cube it into 1–2” / 3–5 cm pieces, drop it into a glass baking pan that’s both oven and microwave safe, and nuke it for four to five minutes to partially heat the mass. Remove from microwave, coat the pumpkin with olive oil and a light sprinkling of salt, and roast it in a preheated oven until done, about 20 to 30 minutes. If you’re not in a rush, you can skip the peeling step entirely: cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, add oil and salt, roast it for about an hour (until the flesh is soft), and use a spoon to scoop it out.
Pumpkin “pi” inspired by an image I saw online—I think Gizmodo. -J