While your pumpkin experience probably started in October and ended the day after Thanksgiving, my pumpkin experience started in the summer when the pumpkin vines went crazy in my garden and has not stopped. In the summer, my husband and I went out to the pumpkin patch of our garden and regularly corralled the vines as they tried to sneak into the neighbors’ yards, overflow onto the street, and take over all the other plants that were growing nearby. Then, as we neared fall, the orbs of fruit swelled and swelled until I thought they would burst open entirely. During the past three months, we harvested more than 70 pounds of pumpkins and have been doing due diligence to work them into meals as often as possible. Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and now, at last, pumpkin soup. I have been searching for a pumpkin soup recipe for a long time with many, many failures. Some were too sweet, others too savory, others too thick or too watery. I found a recipe by Chuck Williams in the newspaper, doctored it quite heavily, and came up with this winter squash soup fit for the gods.
winter squash soup
heavily adapted from a recipe by Chuck Williams
4 pounds of winter squash (I used a mix of butternut and pumpkin), or 2 cups of pumpkin puree
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 yellow onions, chopped
8 fresh sage leaves, chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1-4 tbsp brown sugar, to taste
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp sage leaf (or additional sage leaves if available)
3 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prick each squash with a knife tip so that it won’t explode. Place the whole squashes on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until a knife penetrates the flesh easily, about 1 hour. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
Halve each squash lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds and fibers with a large spoon. Scoop the pulp into a large bowl.
In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and the sage and saute until the onions are translucent, 8-10 minutes.
Add the stock and squash pulp, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add salt, brown sugar, cardamom and additional sage. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes to let the flavors combine. Add the cream cheese and stir until mostly melted.
Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Before serving, reheat the soup.
If desired, toast the almonds in a saute pan over medium heat until fragrant. Sprinkle on the soup and serve. Season to taste with salt and sugar.