Last weekend, our neighbors had Christmas lights put up for the season. We were shocked! The date was September 30, almost three full months before Christmas day. Don’t get me wrong- I love Christmas spirit, but it’s way too early. We have Halloween AND Thanksgiving to get through first! Growing up, it was a tradition that on Thanksgiving, the men would put up Christmas lights while the ladies made the meal. After we’d stuffed ourselves with turkey and fixings, we’d all go outside and make a big deal out of turning on the lights for the first time. Since Thanksgiving was officially over, the Christmas season could begin. I actually don’t know if it was a tradition, but it happened, and I like the idea. Give each holiday season their due!
I feel the same way about pumpkins. September is too early, people. It’s basically Indian Summer! But there’s no denying that October is fall, especially in Park City, where the autumn colors are on their way out in some places and snow has already sprinkled some high-up peaks. The stores might have piles of pumpkins out long before, but once October 1 rolls around, it’s officially decorative gourd season and I am into it! Last year, I invested in some fake pumpkins to help decorate the front porch, but I’m pretty anxious to pick up some real ones to add to the doorway and for inside. I confess I cheated and picked up one tiny pumpkin a few days early because it’s so cute!
I’ve mentioned before that when it comes to food, I’m not a big pumpkin person. I don’t freak out about the Pumpkin Spice Latte or put pumpkin in every recipe and I’ll choose pecan pie over pumpkin every Thanksgiving. That said, I recently started exploring a new cookbook called, Pumpkin It Up! It was one of the cookbooks I was asked to review for AOL Lifestyle’s 2016 Food Awards. As I flipped through the pages, full of glossy, tantalizing photos, I started to think I’d been underestimating the poor pumpkin. This book contains so many recipes, from sweets to breads to soups and main dishes. I selected a savory pumpkin soup; it was a piece of (pumpkin) cake to make and super tasty!
I started by slicing up some mushrooms, then chopping half of an onion and a Yukon Gold potato I had leftover from another recipe. My sweet kitchen assistant kept me chatting during the process! I melted a bit of butter in a soup pot and got the onions going with a big pinch of salt.
When the onions had started to soften, I added the potatoes and mushrooms and sautéed them until they were pretty tender. Then, I added a couple of tablespoons of flour and more curry powder than the recipe calls for- I love the curry flavor! I stirred around the veggies and let that raw flour flavor cook off before deciding to add a small amount of cayenne pepper on a whim. We like it spicy in this house!
Next, I slowly poured in a few cups of chicken broth while I stirred the pot to allow the liquid to combine with the flour and start to thicken. I lowered the heat and let it simmer for a bit and then it was time for the star of the season: pumpkin. How lucky are we to have pumpkin puree in a can? It’s so easy! The whole can went in, along with some half-and-half for creaminess. I actually didn’t have as much cream as the recipe called for, so I improvised by stirring in a big dollop of plain Greek yogurt.
Would you believe that’s all there is to this recipe? I chopped some fresh chives to sprinkle on top and, even though I’d made it for dinner later that night, served myself a small bowl for lunch. This soup is creamy and rich with lots of warm curry flavor. The pumpkin flavor is not overwhelming but it’s there, and it gives the soup a velvety texture. I loved the addition of the cayenne, which didn’t really alter the flavor of the soup but gave it a mellow heat. I appreciate that it’s not completely pureed- there’s substance with the chunks of potatoes and mushrooms. I might even add more potatoes next time! The fresh chives are necessary to balance the richness. At dinnertime, we added some crispy prosciutto on top and I think I’ll be doing that every time- I loved the salty bite!
This pumpkin soup is perfect for a non-pumpkin-freak like me. I get a taste of the season without it being over the top! The recipe was easy enough for a week-night meal. It can be made ahead and warmed at serving time, or popped into the freezer for another chilly evening. But with the first snow in the forecast this week, I might just slide into my slippers, get a fire going, and polish off this batch. It tastes just like fall.
Curried Pumpkin Soup (adapted from Pumpkin it Up!)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- ½ small white onion, chopped
- ½ Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
- ½ cup half-and-half
- Big dollop of plain Greek yogurt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped chives and crispy prosciutto for toppings
In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion. Season with salt. When the onion has begun to soften, add the mushrooms and the potato and sauté until mostly tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour, curry powder, and cayenne pepper over the veggies and stir well. Slowly add the broth and stir the mixture to combine with the spice-flour mixture and thicken. Allow to come to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and let the soup thicken a little bit more. Stir in the pumpkin, half-and-half, and yogurt and cook for 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve with chives and prosciutto on top with crusty bread for dunking. Hello, pumpkin season!
Hungry for more? Check out my collection of recipes HERE.
One year ago: Cuban-style Pot Roast and amazing Cuban sandwiches.