Sweet & Savoury Pumpkin Soup

By Juliana Bergstrom
@julianabergstrom

As the days grow shorter and the leaves start turning yellow and red, I don’t know about you, but I begin to crave seasonal fall treats. I’m not talking about “fun-sized” Snickers bars, candy corn or the famous PSL. I’m talking about in-season fruits and vegetables like squash, cranberries, pears, apples and, of course, gigantic turkey dinners which brings us to the old, reliable pumpkin! Don’t be fooled though, pumpkin is delicious in more than just pie (or as a flavouring in your beloved latte).

You don’t need to buy it in a can to make a pumpkin dish from scratch. This recipe is for two soups: one savoury and one sweet. Both are great as an appetizer for a festive dinner, such as Christmas or Thanksgiving and the savoury version is great as a dinner entrée with a crispy crostini drizzled with olive oil (the sweet version is a little too sweet to be had on it’s own as an entrée).

Start with two sugar pumpkins. Your local grocery store should have them as these are the most popular variety for things like pies and tarts. They don’t need to be big, go for around three or four pounds. Anything much bigger than that will take forever to bake in the oven.

Pumpkin Ingredients

For Savory Pumpkin Soup, you will need:

  • 1 Sugar Pumpkin
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • Coarse Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½ sweet onion
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Olive oil

For Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin soup, you will need:

  • 1 Sugar Pumpkin
  • ¼ tsp pumpkin spice
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • a few dashes of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp honey (optional)
  • Coarse Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½ sweet onion
  • Olive oil

Prep:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the pumpkins to ensure there is no dirt left on them and then remove the stems.

Cut the pumpkins in half using a sharp knife; these are hard enough to cut through and the last thing you want is to be sawing through a tough pumpkin with a dull knife! #worksmarternotharder

Clean out the pumpkin halves by scraping out the orange stringy bits with a spoon but make sure you keep the seeds – we will be using these later! Once the pumpkins have been cleaned, brush both the insides and outside with olive oil and sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper. Be generous here.

In one pumpkin, sprinkle some pumpkin spice, nutmeg and cinnamon on the inside. Place face down on a baking sheet that you have brushed with olive oil.

In the other, sprinkle some cumin, chili powder and rub in some crushed garlic. Place both halves face down on another oiled baking sheet. Take one whole clove of garlic and cut the tips off the top. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and place underneath one of the pumpkin halves with the savory spices. Put both baking sheets into the oven for about an hour (this will vary depending on the size of the pumpkins and your oven). You will know when the pumpkin is done when you can easily slide a fork through the skin and the inner layer that was touching the pan is caramelized and brown.

While the pumpkins are baking, rinse off the seeds in a colander and lay out on a towel and pat dry. Leave these out to dry out a bit in a single layer on the towel.

ingredientspumpkin

Take your onion and about four cloves of garlic and chop up – this can be a rough chop because it will be going into the food processor eventually. Sautee on medium heat and cover until translucent. Remove the cover and turn down to low heat. Let sit until they are browned and caramelized.

Now that your seeds are dry, take two more baking sheets and divide them up. Spread them into a single layer on each and drizzle both with olive oil, salt and pepper. In one pan, dust the seeds with cumin and in the other, dust them with cinnamon. Fun fact; Pumpkin seeds are one of the healthiest things you can eat! These little nutritional powerhouses contain heart-healthy magnesium which aids in the health of your bones, teeth, heart, blood vessels and in healthy digestion (can I get a “hell-yeah!”).

When your pumpkins are done (fork goes through skin and edges are caramelized) remove from the oven and set aside to let cool. Now take your baking sheets with the seeds and put in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes – watch them to make sure they don’t burn!

Once your pumpkins have cooled, peel off the skin with a paring knife or, if you tend to cut yourself because you already got into your bottle of wine, scoop out the flesh with a spoon #safetyfirst. Place half of your caramelized onions into your food processor with the cinnamon and nutmeg spiced pumpkin flesh. Add your ¼ tsp pumpkin spice, ¼ tsp nutmeg and (optional) two tbsp of honey and blend until velvety smooth – and this will get velvety smooth. Place into a saucepan on the stove at low heat to keep warm (or put into a sealed container and chill in the fridge for up to 4 days).

Wash your food processor before transferring the remainder of the onions and the other pumpkin into it. The garlic clove should be soft and gooey and the insides should ooze out when you squeeze it from the bottom. Add the roasted garlic to the food processor along with your ¼ tsp cumin, your ¼ tsp chili powder and your ½ cup broth and blend until smooth (make sure you get all the clumps!).  Place into a saucepan on the stove at low heat to keep warm (or put into a sealed container and chill in the fridge for up to 4 days).

Once your seeds are browned and crispy, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

sweet&savourySoup

Place your soup(s) into some bowls and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and some of the pumpkin seeds (cinnamon seeds go with your sweet soup and cumin seeds go with the savory). Toast one piece of sourdough bread per bowl of soup. For the savory soup toasts, rub a clove of raw garlic directly onto it and a drizzle of olive oil – the garlic should almost grate onto the bread from the toasted texture. On the other, drizzle with olive oil (or slather with butter) and a sprinkle of cinnamon – garlic croustinis go with the cumin pumpkin soup and cinnamon croustinis go with the pumpkin spiced. Enjoy!

JulianaJuliana loves most Vancouver clichés — such as yoga, hiking and drinking tea with elaborate names — but what you wouldn’t guess about her is that she danced her way through 32 countries, is a die-hard No Doubt fan and cries when she is really excited and/or happy. Oh, and she loves a dry sauvignon blanc.