Best weekend project ever: this soup! Start your beautiful, crisp Fall Saturday (or Sunday) off by donning your first-of-the-season cozy, chunky-knit sweater, throw on a scarf, grab a basket and head out for a leisurely stroll through the crunchy leaves at your local farmer’s market. Pick up some local honey, sugar pumpkin, leeks and fresh turmeric if you can find it! Wanna grow your own turmeric? Look here.
FULL DISCLOSURE: we’ve tried this soup with pure, organic pumpkin in a can (got it at Trader Joe’s) vs. fresh sugar pumpkin and there is a just a small noticeable difference. Canned means 1: you don’t get to relive the cute farmer’s market day story above! 2: you don’t get the bonus pumpkin seeds, which are a nice snack and good for you, too! 3: Canned foods will contain some chemical components from can. That said, give it a shot fresh first! Do your own taste test. You do get a bit of a more complex flavor in the roasting of the pumpkin, which you don’t get when using the canned.
Pumpkin soup is primarily made with heavy cream. We cut the fat content down by including broth with a non-dairy cream. You still get that creamy texture and flavor without the heavy fat. This soup is not very spicy at all. It’s spicy in the sense that it has some heavy flavorful spices in it. If you would like it hot and spicy, adjust your cayenne pepper to taste.
Farmer’s Market Fall Pumpkin Soup
- 4 lbs. sugar pumpkin (yields about 4 cups pureed, about 2 1/3-15 oz. can pureed)
- 2 leek stalks (about 1 lb.)
- 5 garlic cloves peeled
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 tbs. cumin
- 1 tbs. turmeric
- 3 tbs. olive oil, separated
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- Cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk or more for creamier
- 2 tbs. maple syrup or honey
- 1 tbs. apple cider vinegar
- Green pumpkin seeds
- If you haven’t had leeks in soup, you’re missing out! I like to cut it up and soak it in veggie wash in a big bowl to get all the dirt out. There’s a lot of dirt stuck in between the layers of the leek and soaking is essential. I do this first while preparing the pumpkin for roasting.
- Take a 4-lb. (or two 2-lb.) sugar pumpkin(s) (not the same as your average Halloween carving pumpkin), usually found in the produce section near the squash. Cut it in half and scoop out the guts and the seeds. Don’t throw away seeds, we’re going to toast those. Cut the halves into quarters. Brush the pumpkin with a tablespoon of olive oil and roast, cut side down, in a 425 degree oven. Cut up leeks into 1/2” rounds and toss with garlic, 1 tbs. olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and spices in a bowl and throw those into the oven on another baking sheet. Cook pumpkin for 35 minutes or until a fork easily pokes through the flesh. Cook leek mix about 20 minutes.
- When pumpkin is done, peel the skin off with a knife and place in pot with roasted leek mix and all ingredients except for coconut milk and maple syrup. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (or more) to merge the flavors.
- While soup is simmering, let’s get the pumpkin seeds (also called “pepitas”) going. Usually, the pumpkins produce about 2 cups of pepitas (if you have more or less, adjust recipe to match). Your oven should still be hot, just turn temp to 300 degrees. In a bowl, combine your cleaned and dried (no guts or guck, dry between paper towels) pumpkin seeds with the remaining 1 tbs. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of fresh ground pepper. Spread a single layer on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes stirring halfway through. Seeds should be golden and crunchy.
- When soup is done cooking, stir in milk and syrup. Remove from heat and let slightly cool. Use an immersion blender to blend right in the pot. No immersion blender? Use a regular blender and blend in batches. A regular blender gets it creamier. Watch out for steam, it’s good to cover lid with towel to protect from steam burns!
- The spicy and sweet combination is soooo good. If you want it creamier, add more milk. Sweeter? Add more maple syrup. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and place a tablespoon(-ish) of toasted pumpkin seeds in the center of the bowl and voila!