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Chef Andy: It’s the Great Pumpkin – Soup

Perfect in pies and fun to carve and roast the seeds, pumpkins are taking center stage right now.

The versatile member of the squash family has many great applications in the culinary world, but one that may surprise you is what great soup pumpkins make.

The creamy texture of cooked pumpkins provides the perfect backdrop for a warm and hearty soup that spells comfort from start to finish.

This isn’t a sweet soup because you’re using pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.

You can take the cheffy route by taking the seeds out of the pumpkin and roasting them in the oven until soft, but the shortcut of using canned pumpkin puree works perfectly and saves a lot of time.

The ingredients are simple and the prep time is minimal, so you can have a delicious fall soup on the table in less than 30 minutes.

The fun thing about this recipe is you can take it to different levels by changing the spice profile.

You have the option of adding hot spices to make it as zesty as you want, or you can add warmer spices like garam masala, cloves, allspice, turmeric, lemongrass or roasted peppers to subtly complement the pumpkin flavor.

This recipe uses coconut milk and curry to widen the background and give it a slightly sweet taste, but the curveball I throw in my recipe is the addition of creamy peanut butter, which adds depth and helps tighten the soup.

For garnish, I add some roasted, salted shelled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas), and a sprinkle of the tart yet bright spice called sumac, a powder made from ground sumac berries.

If you haven’t tried ground sumac spice yet, you’re missing out on a wonderful flavor which is unlike any other and can be used in any recipe that benefits from a slightly sour bite.

As with most dishes, it’s important to consider the “big four” flavors: Salt (pepitas), heat (hot sauce), fat (coconut milk) and acid (from the sumac) to achieve culinary harmony and create a fall treat you’ll make over and over.

Pumpkin Soup
In a medium size stock pot over medium heat add:
1 – 13 oz. can coconut milk
3 cups chicken stock
1 – 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce (more or less to taste)
Salt to taste
Whisk to blend all ingredients and slowly bring to a simmer.
Continue to whisk while keeping it at a low simmer for about ten minutes.
Serve in bowls and sprinkle a little sumac on top along with roasted, salted pepitas.

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