i bought a pumpkin for halloween, but never carved it...which is a shame because i love carving pumpkins. however, i knew that i would put it to good use. i have a killer (and dead simple) recipe for butternut squash soup that i will share one day...and this recipe was kind of based off of that.
it's easy, and velvety smooth, not to mention packed with vitamins and minerals. there are scores of ways to change this up ever so slightly which will give you equally good, but slightly different finished soups.
1 medium pumpkin, seeds removed and cut into chunks
4 leeks, cleaned and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
6 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 scant tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon finely sliced fresh sage (6 leaves or so)
1 carton (or 4 cups) chicken stock
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
preheat the oven to 400 degrees. place the chunks of pumpkin onto a large rimmed baking sheet and coat liberally with olive oil, salt, and pepper. once oven comes to temperature, pop in the pumpkin and move on. keep an eye on the pumpkin...it could take over an hour to get soft enough for the soup.
in a large stock pot melt the butter and then add in the bacon. render the bacon until browned and then remove. pour off some of the excess fat, and then sautée the garlic until fragrant (about one minute), then add the leeks and the parsnips. cook the vegetables until they are soft, but not browned. then add the poultry seasoning, sage, and chicken stock. set the soup to simmer on low.
once the pumpkin is soft enough to be pierced with a paring knife with little resistance, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. once cool, remove skin and cut into 1" chunks and add to soup. add enough water to cover everything and then place the lid on and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes. at this point the pumpkin should be very soft.
using an immersion blender (or a regular blender, food mill, or food processor) puree the mixture until very smooth. stir in the cream and enjoy!
this soup would taste wonderful with cooked rice and chicken, tortellini, or spinach floating through it. it's deceptively hearty, and really creamy. feel free to play with the seasonings as well, for a spicy option cayenne or chili peppers could be added and the sage swapped out for your favorite winter herb like rosemary or thyme.
this makes a ton of soup, so either make it for a crowd or on a sunday afternoon with plenty for lunch leftovers.
also, this could easily be vegetarian with a swap for vegetable stock and the removal of the bacon. it adds a smoky flavor, but isn't necessary.