Tonight I decided to make soup from a real pumpkin, not from pumpkin puree (I'm not actually sure you could make soup with the canned stuff). I approached this recipe as I do many—sautéing chopped bacon in my blue Dutch oven. Such an auspicious start! You can't cook with any old pumpkin—I used a small pumpkin labeled "pie pumpkin" from the grocery store. After cutting the pumpkin into thirds and cleaning out the seeds, I drizzled it with vegetable oil and sprinkled it with salt and pepper. Then I roasted it in the oven for 45 minutes. By far, this was the longest part of the process. The flavor is similar to butternut squash soup; adding some fennel was the perfect flavor complement. I topped the savory soup with crumbled bacon and Homemade Croutons (or toast, as Andy prefers to call them—he's not a fan of croutons, go figure). Enjoy!
1 pie pumpkin, cut in thirds and seeded
Salt and pepper to taste
2 bacon slices, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1. Place pumpkin pieces on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with vegetable oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until softened. Scoop out pumpkin with a spoon, and discard skin.
2. Sauté bacon in a Dutch oven until browned; remove from Dutch oven. Sauté onion and next 2 ingredients in drippings for 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in chicken stock and next 3 ingredients. Stir in pumpkin, Use immersion blender to puree soup mixture. Stir in fennel seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until thoroughly heated.