Friday, October 31, 2008

Savory Pumpkin Soup

Every year on Halloween, my Mom always made a big pot of soup. She did this for several reasons. If she wasn't busy helping all of us with our costumes, she was answering the door, greeting trick or treaters from the neighborhood. Not only that, we were all coming and going at different times and of course we needed to warm up after being outside in the chilly weather all day. A pot of soup was definitely the best option for dinner. Today's recipe incorporates Mom's tradition of serving soup on Halloween with this week's pumpkin theme.
There are TONS of versions of pumpkin soup. It lends itself to so many different variations. There's everything from creamy to spicy to smokey to sweet. I've seen recipes that have coconut milk, or curry, or jalapeno peppers, or even cloves and honey. So, after giving it a lot of thought, I decided to go with a simple recipe that's rich and creamy. It's probably too rich to serve to your band of trick or treaters, but it would be a great first course for Thanksgiving or an elegant candle lit dinner.

6 cups chicken broth
1 can (16 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, warmed
fresh chives, chopped

In a large sauce pot, heat chicken broth, pumpkin, onions, garlic, and thyme to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 20 minutes. Pour into food processor and puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Stir warm cream into soup. Garnish with chopped chives and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

If you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender, or just omit this step altogether. It would be perfectly fine to serve it without processing it at all. Just be sure to finely chop the onions and garlic.
For an elegant and festive presentation, hollow out small pumpkins (also known as "Jack Be Littles") and use them as your individual serving bowls. Or you could hollow out a large pumpkin and use it as a soup tureen for the entire batch.

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