Quick Pumpkin Soup

I have been actively trying to will autumn to start.  I love the fall.  The clothes, the food, the weather, the smells, the holidays.  In the Bay Area, we don’t really have the changing of the leaves like you do in New England, but the weather is just so cool and crisp and lovely.  And you have sweaters and boots.  And squash.  And stews.  And Halloween and crunchy leaves and cider.  It’s all just so cozy and comforting.  And I want it to start.  NOW.

So, in an attempt to kick start the season, I decided to make pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies.  The only problem with pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies?  The recipe calls for 1 cup of pumpkin puree, but canned pumpkin puree only comes in those enormous, pumpkin pie-sized cans.  You know, like this:

Canned Pumpkin Puree

It’s a mother can of pumpkin.  So, what do you do with the remaining 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin after you’re done with the cookies?  Make some soup!

Quick Pumpkin Soup

This is really a 20 minutes, start to finish soup.  And that finish is delicious.

I’ve had a lot of pumpkin soups that were on the sweeter side, with quince and butternut squash or sweet potato and cinnamon.  I really didn’t want to do a sweet pumpkin soup.  I wanted something hearty and definitely savory.  Ancho chile and crème fraiche and a sprinkling of pancetta really create that great, autumnal, savory comfort food flavor.  A drizzling of basil oil on top completely rounds out all the earthy flavors of this soup.

Come on in autumn!  Soup’s on!  THG

Quick Pumpkin Soup

Quick Pumpkin Soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, smashed

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder

1 tsp. ground paprika

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup crème fraiche

1 cup pancetta, fried until crunchy

Basil Oil (recipe follows)

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add crushed garlic to olive oil and brown without letting it burn.  Add chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Add pumpkin puree and mix well.  Add ancho chile powder, paprika and salt and mix.  Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add crème fraiche and using an immersion blender or a stand blender, puree soup until smooth.  Serve immediately garnished with basil oil and fried pancetta.

Serves 4

Basil Oil

2 cups fresh basil

1 cup olive oil

In a blender puree basil leaves and olive oil for 2-3 minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Will keep for 1 week.