So….? How was your Autumnal Equinox celebration? Did you set your intentions and/or do anything special to welcome the new cycle?
For all of my good intentions and preparations, my Monday ended up filling with all sorts of unplanned things. Good thing I had set my intentions already, as I ended my day with a migraine (not a bad one) that came on just as I was taking my evening shower.
All I could do after that was sit quietly in the dark, with my eyes closed, and focusing on those intentions while breathing slowly and deeply until the migraine shimmer disappeared, and autumn officially started.
My bottle of Prosecco remained unopened in the refrigerator for another time. Instead I toasted the new season with a bowl of hot and nurturing pumpkin soup. It was just what my body needed: something simple and light, yet tasty, warming and very satisfying.
When done right, this is one of my favorite soups, so I thought it was time to share my recipe with you. It is also very easy, and I have made it so often I no longer refer to the recipe.
I photographed it among the bounty of this vibrant season, using a super cute mug I found at Starbucks a few years ago. I am a sucker for mugs and bowls, and I have way too many. In spite of that I am thinking of browsing a couple of stores I know for mugs that are perfect for mulled wine – another seasonal favorite of mine. For those who have never tried it, it is hot spiced red wine, and it is divine! I will be making some as soon as the temperature turns colder and share the recipe. Or I could pretend to be living in the city (San Francisco) enclosed in chilly fog and feel the need for some right away.
In the meantime, here is the recipe for this seriously easy soup. I prefer to use kabocha pumpkin because of various attributes: it is rich in flavor, meaty and not watery, and has a vibrant orange color. The proportions given are for such type of pumpkin. If you prefer to use other types, or even squashes, you will have to adjust the broth accordingly.
By “creamed” I mean that it has been pureed to a cream. The actual cream is only a little decorative drizzle, which you can skip if you are vegan, so the soup is perfect for a flavorful but light supper.
PUMPKIN CREAMED SOUP WITH CLOVES AND THYME
yields ca 8 portions
– 1 kg (ca 6 cups, or 2.2 lbs.) kabocha pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into large cubes
– 1 med-large onion, chopped
– 2 large carrots, chopped
– 1 celery stalk, chopped
– 1 lt & 1/2 (6 & 1/2 cups) vegetable broth, simmering hot
– 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil + extra for finishing
– 5 whole cloves
– 125 ml. (ca 1/2 cup) fresh cream (for a vegan version of the soup, skip the cream)
– 1 teaspoon sugar
– sea salt
– freshly cracked black pepper
– 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves plus extra for decoration
You will also need a blender, preferably an immersion one.
1. Heat the three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large soup pot at medium heat. Add the chopped carrot, onion and celery, season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and stir. Let cook for about 5 minutes until a little tender.
2. Add the cubed pumpkin and the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, season again with salt and pepper and stir, allowing it all to cook for another couple of minutes. Now add the hot vegetable broth, the cloves and the teaspoon of thyme leaves, then stir gently. Cover with the lid, leaving a little section open, and cook on medium heat until the pumpkin is tender, about 25-30′. Just so you know, pumpkin cooks faster than carrots, so make sure you chop those carrots into small pieces.
3. Turn off the stove, remove the pot from heat and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Stir to find the whole cloves and remove them. This is why it is important that you know how many are in there. Using an immersion blender, turn the whole soup into a smooth and lump-free cream. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can certainly use a regular blender. It is just a bit more work as it requires you to ladle the soup into the glass in batches and have another container handy to hold the blended batch.
4. To serve: ladle the hot creamed soup into serving bowls, swirl a little cream on top, followed by another swirl of extra-virgin olive oil and, if desired a little freshly cracked black pepper. Sprinkle a few fresh thyme leaves, or decorate with a sprig of thyme and serve.
If you are not serving the soup right away, let it cool to room temperature then place it into lidded containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days. Reheat gently in a saucepan on the stove. Please, no microwaves.
You may wonder about that teaspoon of sugar: to me it makes all the difference as it intensifies the color and makes the flavors pop.
I used to make this soup just with cloves and always loved it. Then, one day a few years ago, I tasted some my friend Tiffany made using thyme. I have used thyme in my pumpkin soup since. I think a little sage could work well, too.
I hope you like soup because I have several recipes that I will be sharing over the next few weeks and months. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, this will be just the perfect time for them.
I hope you like the color orange, too, as it will be featured a lot on the blog in the coming weeks, making it a good place for some orange-color therapy!
Other delicious soup recipes you will enjoy: