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Chef Sean Brennan Makes Curried Pumpkin Soup

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I have a confession: I hate “Pumpkin Spice”. Wait, come back! Hear me out. “Pumpkin Spice” isn’t pumpkin spice. There’s no pumpkin in it. I wish it could just be called what it really is: Mulling Spice – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. I love all of those, but pumpkin gets thrown into the mix, and it takes on this sickly sweet connotation that haters love to hate, and Becky’s love to beckon. Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, I get pumpkin’d out, but pumpkin is still so good! And in season! And you probably have at least one can of it sitting in your pantry, daring you to forget about it until next year, when you’ll just buy three more anyways. What to do? This is a great way to use that last can- it’s a super simple way to clear out the pantry, and open up some space in your fridge, and on those first cold nights, it’s a great dinner! As I developed this recipe, I’ve been working from home, and I can tell you I haven’t gotten sick of pumpkin yet – I usually finish up the soup for lunch the next day in a mug, pulling double duty of keeping my hands warm as I sip it. Pumpkin is a great versatile ingredient, and this soup can be dressed up or down in any way you want- try Chipotle peppers, Adobo, or Ras El Hanout to drastically change the flavor profile. And remember: pumpkin spice is technically just mulling spices, so save those for some mulled wine or apple pie, and enjoy the savory side of the pumpkin.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Prep Time: 10 min

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL OR BUTTER
  • 1 LARGE CAN PUMPKIN PUREE (USUALLY 29 OZ) OR A SMALL ROASTING PUMPKIN, SUCH AS A KABOCHA OR SUGAR, OR EVEN -GASP- BUTTERNUT SQUASH.
  • 1 MEDIUM ONION, DICED
  • 1 TABLESPOON MINCED GARLIC
  • 4 CUPS STOCK
  • 2 TABLESPOONS CUMIN
  • ½ TABLESPOON CHILI POWDER
  • 1 TEASPOON CAYENNE PEPPER
  • 2 TABLESPOONS CURRY POWDER
  • 2 BAY LEAVES
  • FRESH CURRY LEAVES, IF AVAILABLE
  • SALT & PEPPER TO TASTE

Directions

Pro Tips

  • Play with the seasoning and additions – I like this with a lot more Cumin and Cayenne, and with cooked black beans added into the soup. Top the soup with croutons, toasted pumpkin seeds, or pita chips, or pour the soup over rice.
  • To create a thicker soup, you can create a roux by adding 2 Tablespoons of flour to the onion & garlic mixture after they’re done cooking, and cook for 2 minutes, until the flour starts to brown on the bottom of the pan.
  • Chicken stock creates good depth of flavor with this soup, but there’s no reason any other stock wouldn’t work just as well. This soup can very easily be made vegan, and it’s just as tasty. 
  • This soup also works well with poultry- add sliced chicken, turkey, or whatever other protein you desire after the onions, but before the garlic, and cook through. 
  • If you only have a small can of pumpkin soup, use that, just halve the stock and spices!
  • You can also use fresh pumpkin if you have it- skin & deseed the pumpkin, and roast it in the oven at 375 until tender and browned at the edges, then mash it up and add it at the same time as the recipe above.
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