Food & Drink

Velvety pumpkin soup perfect for the holiday season

A pumpkin soup prepared by Michelle Madden, made up of pumpkin puree, carrots, onions and topped bacon, croutons and parsley, is seen at her home in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
A pumpkin soup prepared by Michelle Madden, made up of pumpkin puree, carrots, onions and topped bacon, croutons and parsley, is seen at her home in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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I’m so excited! It is officially the holiday season. One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving, because nothing is exchanged or expected to be given except for thanks. I give thanks every day, but there is a different energy and feel to giving thanks with family, friends and food. This brings me to this month’s recipe — pumpkin soup.

So most people celebrated the new harvest and others maybe had fun with Halloween, either way many people have fresh pumpkin around, and if not there are other options. Instead of using your leftover pumpkin for pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread or pies, add this savory yet velvety smooth soup to your favorite fall recipes. I never thought I would like pumpkin in a soup until I tried this spin on a classic pumpkin soup.

This recipe is at the request of McKinley STEAM Academy Principal Jason Martinez. I may not come close to the recipe he is used to, but I’m sure this recipe will not disappoint his craving for this favorite soup from his childhood. Feel free to offer suggestions for a recipe or share your own. I may not be able to make them all, but I will try because I want to make cooking a family art again.

I always try to provide delicious yet easy recipes that are versatile and cost effective so that you can make them for home, potlucks or family gatherings.

This pumpkin soup recipe is smooth and velvety in texture with a slight smoky crunch from the bacon pieces and a hint of sweetness from the sauteed onions. I can’t find a reason not to like — or love — this soup. You can use just pumpkin, or change the bacon to diced/cooked andouille sausage or exchange the heavy whipping cream for coconut milk. There are so many possibilities and options to try and choose from.

It doesn’t have to be a holiday or a celebration for you to make this sophisticated, yet rustic comfort food. This soup seems dainty, but it has substance. There are so many depths of flavors that mesh together harmoniously and yet stand on their own at the same time. I found it to be a tasty surprise, and I think you will agree once you try your own version of this pumpkin soup recipe.

It doesn’t matter if you’re having a Thanksgiving brunch or just having a cozy dinner on the couch watching TV with the family or trying to impress your co-workers with something new, during the brisk days of the fall season, this soup works for any event. I like to eat my pumpkin soup with crusty bread that’s still warm and maybe a few croutons. Among the pumpkin lattes, pies, bars and bread, you can now have pumpkin soup as well.

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We’ve carved them, painted them, displayed them and roasted pumpkin seeds, so why not use the flesh to create another family fall favorite? It just might become a tradition to make this pumpkin soup.

So let’s roll up those sleeves, wash those hands and get started on creating your culinary art of pumpkin soup.

Recipe

Pumpkin Soup

4 slices bacon (I used thick cut) cooked and chopped

2 tablespoons salted sweet cream butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 small-medium onion diced fine (I used a white sweet onion)

1/2 cup of shredded carrots

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 1/2 cups of chicken (or vegetable) broth

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

A dash or two of nutmeg to your liking

15 ounces of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon parsley

Brown the bacon in a stew pot until desired crispiness (I like well done in this recipe) Remove bacon, keeping the drippings in the skillet and add butter.

Add onion to the stew pot and cook until tender, stir in carrots and garlic and let mixture cook for 2 minutes then add brown sugar.

Add bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper, nutmeg and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.

Add pumpkin and cream and cook until heated through. Using a blender or hand blender puree until smooth. (Be careful using blender as steam needs to escape, so use an oven mitten to hold the top open a little making sure it is opposite of your person.) Stir in parsley. When ready to serve, pour into bowls and garnish with croutons, bacon and parsley.

Source: Adapted by Michelle Madden

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