Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pumpkin and Harvest Vegetable Soup

Of all of the things that I make, soup is my absolute favorite, the making of which is an activity that satisfies all of the senses.  There is a certain comfort in the chopping, a satisfaction as the newly diced vegetables hit the sizzling pan, and a feeling of tranquility as I stir all of the ingredients together.  Then comes the reward of the heady aroma as it simmers on the stove, followed by, at long last, that deliciously soothing first taste.  Despite my considerable experience in soup making, however, I had never made pumpkin soup.  I’ve tasted it though, and that probably explains my reticence.  Many of the varieties that I’ve encountered are too sweet, too warmly spicy, or, as in one case, tasted like liquid pumpkin pie.  Soup is not dessert!  So I decided to make my own version and it turned out to be a great success.  It is a wonderful marriage of ingredients that complement rather than overpower.  You’ll be aware of warmth and silky smoothness as it hits the tongue, followed by a light spiciness that will have you craving more.

Pumpkin and Harvest Vegetable Soup

4 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 cups homemade chicken stock
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can pumpkin purée
1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lime juice

In a large pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp; drain and crumble, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan.

Cook onions and garlic in drippings over medium heat, stirring regularly to keep garlic from burning. Cook 8-10 minutes or until onion is tender and translucent.

Add stock and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and summer, stirring occasionally for 25-30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (or in the container of an electric blender), process mixture until smooth.

Serve in hollowed out mini pie pumpkins topped with crumbled bacon, chopped parsley, and roasted pumpkin seeds.

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