One of Bunky’s, and my, favorite fall books is Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper. It’s a gorgeously illustrated story about three bickering pals, Duck, Cat, and Squirrel, who live in a hollowed out white pumpkin and make delicious pumpkin soup.
Every time I read it, I want to eat the soup. The author makes it sound, and look, so good. But I’ve never made it until now.
The recipe I made is adapted from Gluten Free Girl and The Chef to fit my (picky as hell) family. I thought I had a fighting chance with Bunky, but not surprisingly she didn’t like it. My husband, however, said it was The Best Soup he EVER had. This is coming from a guy who doesn’t throw out gratuitous compliments. Also, we were totally annoyed with each other at the time, so clearly the soup had to be AWESOME.
Pumpkin Soup adapted from Gluten Free Girl and The Chef
5-pound sugar or pie pumpkin
4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
cracked black pepper
1 large carrot, peeled and large diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and medium diced
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated is best, regular is fine
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream (sub coconut milk for DF)
2 tbsps butter** (skip this for DF)
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Carefully cut the top off of the pumpkin and cut it into quarters. (I used two smaller pumpkins.) Scrape out the seeds and the innards and set the seeds aside*.
Place the pumpkin quarters in a baking dish and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft enough to scoop with a spoon. Let cool to room temperature. Scoop the pumpkin flesh from the pumpkin and set aside.
2. Place a soup pot over medium heat. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the carrot and garlic to the hot oil and cook. Stir frequently so the garlic browns lightly but doesn’t burn. Cook until the carrot is somewhat softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the sage and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sweet potato, nutmeg, and bay leaf to the stockpot. Pour in the chicken broth and pumpkin flesh. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is fork-soft.
3. Remove pot from heat. Take out bay leaf. I also took out the chunks of garlic, but you can leave those in if you’d like. Carefully, use an immersion blender to puree soup to desired consistency. It can be a little chunky if you like, or very smooth. Mine was mostly smooth with a bit of texture.
WARNING – be careful not to splash yourself with hot soup while blending. Transfer to a large serving bowl first if you prefer, and then return to the pot once blended. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender or Cuisinart and then back to the pot.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cream and butter. Put soup back in pot (if not there already) and bring to a boil and reduce to low heat. Let simmer until soup is thickened to your liking (about 10 minutes).
* If you want to bake the pumpkin seeds, spread them on a baking sheet and lightly coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake in the oven with the pumpkin, until the seeds start to brown (5 to 10 minutes). Remove from oven and season with salt.
For some reason I am unable to roast pumpkin seeds. I either over or undercook them. They are never edible. Don’t let my own failure stop you, though. I’m sure the soup would be lovely with some sprinkled on top.
My husband and I enjoyed this soup for dinner and lunch the next day. I was concerned about how to transfer the leftovers for the ride home, but turns out my worry was unnecessary. There was not a drop left.
My new plan for our country weekends is to make soup or stew the first night so we can all enjoy a warm lunch the next day. This way we can cut down on our cold sandwich intake. I just need to find a recipe everyone will enjoy. Having 2 out of 4 family members give it the thumbs up isn’t bad, but next time I’m shooting for at least 3.
Let me know if you make this soup. It takes some time, but it is SO worth the effort. Check out the original recipe if your family tolerates more spice and onion. You could also add some freshly grated ginger to heat it up. Oh, that sounds good…
I’m happy to have shared this post at the Gluten-Free Friday’s link up party hosted by Vegetarian Mama, Eat.Live.Make, and Gluten Freed R.D., and One Creative Mommy’s Gluten Free Monday link up. Click the links to find more great GF recipes.