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Sweet & Smoky Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Sweet and Smoky Roasted Pumpkin Soup recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Pumpkins at every stall at the farmers’ market, in piles outside the grocery store, and even in wagons at the end of long, gravel driveways throughout the Minnesota countryside.  That’s where we had stopped unexpectedly last week on our drive home.  Colored flags and a little sign drew our attention to a wagon full of pumpkins, and one wooden box in the corner to slip your dollar into.  Yep, only $1 for a pumpkin.

Pumpkin wagon in Minnesota

It’s been a cold start to fall in Minnesota.  As summer turned to fall on the night of September 21st, it snowed in Duluth.  That crisp air reminds Minnesotans to make a choice – fly to Florida before it’s too late, or accept the impending months of dark and cold by cooking up some homemade soup.

After the past five years in the never ending heat of the tropics, I happily chose the latter and chopped up my dollar pumpkin and made a simple, healthy, warming Sweet & Smoky Roasted Pumpkin Soup.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Pumpkins are well suited for the soup pot – the cooked yellow flesh is creamy, sweet, and rich.  Very little needs to be added to create an amazing soup. 

That goes for the spices as well.  Keep it simple so as not to overpower the flavor of the pumpkin.  Black pepper, bay leaves, and smoky ancho chili pepper will enhance the sweet and savory elements of the soup. 

Enjoy this Sweet & Smoky Roasted Pumpkin Soup with a side of hot-from-the-oven French bread.  You’ll be full, smiling, and ready for the winter!

Sweet & Smoky Roasted Pumpkin Soup by SeasonWithSpice.com

Our friend, and representative of the Philippines on the New Spice Route - the always jovial Ray Gingco - asked us if we would share a recipe on his site, Wok with Ray.  That is where you will find my Roasted Pumpkin Soup recipe featured alongside many of Ray's delicious ideas like my favorite pork chop marinade - Sweet & Garlicky Pork Chops.

Head over to Wok with Ray now to find colorful Asian recipes, as well as my Sweet & Smoky Roasted Pumpkin Soup!

Sweet & Smoky Roasted Pumpkin Soup by Season with Spice 
Serves about 3

1 small pumpkin – peeled, deseeded, and cubed (use 6 cups of pumpkin cubes)
2 tbsp butter - softened (omit for dairy-free version)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 bay leaves
1 yellow onion – chopped roughly
3-4 garlic cloves - crushed
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth (add cold to blender)
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of Season with Spice's ground ancho chili pepper
Salt to taste
Toasted pecans (optional) - crushed

1. Slice pumpkin in half and remove seeds and pulp. Then peel pumpkin (I find it easiest to cut pumpkin into 1-inch wide slices first, then peel skin with a sharp knife), and chop into cubes. Place pumpkin, along with onion and garlic, into a metal bowl.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
3. Mix butter, olive oil, and maple syrup in a small bowl. Then pour over pumpkin cubes and mix well.
4. Place the pumpkin cubes flat on a baking pan – use a plastic spatula to ensure all the liquid is transferred from the bowl to the pan. Tear the bay leaves into 4 pieces each and place between pumpkin cubes. Put baking pan into oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until pumpkin cubes are softened.
5. Add cold chicken broth to blender. Then add in the cooked pumpkin – again using a plastic spatula to ensure all the liquid is transferred. Blend to desired consistency, and transfer to a pot on the stove.
6. Heat soup to a simmer, and stir in ground ancho chili pepper, black pepper, and salt (and crushed pecans, if using). When thickened to desired texture, serve hot with a side of French bread.

 -The majority of pumpkin soup recipes include milk or heavy cream, but I find the milky taste can overpower the flavor of the pumpkin, and isn’t really needed anyway since the blended pumpkin already provides a nice creamy texture. If you do want a slightly richer taste, I recommend stirring in 1 or 2 more tablespoons of butter during the simmering process.
-To speed the process up, you can skip the roasting step, and instead cook the pumpkin on the stove.
-Save the pumpkin seeds for roasting into a delicious fall snack.