Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Ah, autumn! If there is a single fruit that is associated with the fall season, it must surely be the noble pumpkin. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin soup, pumpkin spice, and of course pumpkin spice lattes and Frappucinos.
Nothing puts me in a seasonal mood more than making something with pumpkin, and this inspired me to make pumpkin soup. Soup is always great when it is cold and rainy, which is the weather that has dominated my part of Northern California in the last several weeks. Soup is so warm and comforting, deliciously satiny, and it's so satisfying to be able to get so much soup out of just one pumpkin!
My initial idea for the soup was to aim for a savory pumpkin flavor, but I decided it would be nice to add a touch of sweetness with some leftover sweetened red bean paste filling I had. Red bean paste and pumpkin is a combination I have played around with in desserts before, and the two meld together surprisingly well.
In this case, the pumpkin has a deliciously savory flavor, with garlic, salt, pepper, mixing with the bright flavor of the pumpkin. The red bean paste, for its part, provides nice notes of fruitiness and sweetness. But it just gets better since a pumpkin provides plenty of seeds that can be baked and seasoned themselves, while caramelized onions and bacon are a wonderful topping. The entire thing is intensely satisfying to eat, since the pumpkin puree is so nice and smooth, and then there are little bites of pumpkin seeds, flashes of meaty goodness from the bacon, and the comfort of the onion.
This soup is great for a cold night, and it's surprisingly easy to make if somewhat time-consuming. The final product looks beautiful: creamy pumpkin soup topped with accouterments and a little dollop of cream, sour cream, or creme fraiche!
This recipe is adapted from Rachel Khoo's My Little French Kitchen: Over 100 Recipes from the Mountains, Market Squares, and Shores of France.
- 1 pumpkin
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/2 pound red bean paste
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (plus a little extra to splash on top)
- 3 pieces bacon
- 1 large onion
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cut up the pumpkin into large pieces, scoop out the seeds, and discard the stringy interior. Season the pumpkin flesh with the olive oil and some salt. Bake in an oven at 300 degrees F for 1 hour with the seeds, tossed with salt, and the garlic cloves, unpeeled and whole in their skins.
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool. Once cool, cut off the skin. Put the pumpkin flesh as well as the garlic once removed from its skin into a large casserole dish, and pour in the chicken stock and heavy cream. Heat on medium for 10 minutes until it bubbles and burps.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet, and once it begins to let off some grease, put in the onion, peeled and diced, and then after a few minutes the seeds with the butter for them to cook in. Cook until the seeds start to brown.
- Either using an immersion blender or by transferring the stock into a blender, puree the pumpkin, adding in steady quantities of the red bean paste. It is fine if it remains in some small clumps since this adds a nice degree of heterogeneity.
- Return the soup to the casserole dish if it had been taken out, and then pour it into bowls to serve, topping with the pumpkin seeds, caramelized onions, and bacon on top as well as some whipped cream, creme fraiche, or sour cream for garnish.