Far be it from me to argue with a curried pumpkin soup, or a pumpkin soup with pancetta, or a pumpkin soup with dancing croutons. I love those guys, I really do. They're crazy funky delicious and such. They're spaztastic.
What they aren't, though—what they'll never be—is the good old classic pumpkin soup that got us all hooked on pumpkin soup in the first place. You know the one. It's spiced only with dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg and a warming pinch of cayenne. It hints at sweetness and richness but doesn't cloy.
If I had to live in pumpkin soup monogamy for the rest of my life, this recipe would be The One. And even if I don't have to commit to a one-and-only, I think I might just trot it out as a first course on Christmas, to show it off to the family. If you'd like to do the same, feel free to make it a few days in advance and reheat it gently, thinning with a bit of water if necessary, on the big day.
- 1 medium sugar pumpkin (about 3 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 6 cups low sodium homemade or store-bought chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Adjust oven rack to lower position and peheat oven to 400°F. Split pumpkin in half and remove seeds with a large spoon. Rub on all surfaces with oil and place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, cut-side up. Roast until completely tender and a knife or cake tester inserted near the stem meets little to no resistance, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh into a medium bowl and discard skin. Set aside.
Meanwhile, melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add pumpkin flesh, stock, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove Dutch oven from heat. Puree soup with immersion blender or carefully, in batches, in regular blender. For a smoother soup, strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Whisk in maple syrup and add cream to taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat gently and serve immediately.
Roasting pan, large Dutch oven, immersion or regular blender