Autumn is by far my favorite time of year. The air turns nice and crisp, you can break out your comfy sweaters, and you get to eat dinner in the Sukkah. And who can think of autumn without a pumpkin in the picture? Of course, as the temperatures cool down, you need some hot soup to keep you warm. This soup has everything you want on a cool Minnesota evening under the stars, plus a little of that smoky chipotle kick to heat things up.
The Minneapolis Farmers Market is full of lots of beautiful pumpkins and squashes right now. I like to go there a lot for fresh locally grown veggies, and that is where I got these pumpkins. You want to get pie pumpkins, not the larger ones that are for carving. The smaller pie pumpkins will be more tender and a little sweeter. You can eat the bigger ones, but they will be more stringy and not as tasty. If you talk to the folks at the Farmers Market, they can help you find the right ones.
I wanted to make this soup just so I could serve it in a pumpkin. I saw something like this on a TV show once (I blame the Food Network for a lot of my crazy ideas) and it just looked like the perfect thing to have on the table for Sukkot. I was either going to do soup or some kind of custard type of dessert. Since I was anticipating the weather would cool down a bit, I went with soup. I don’t like soups that are completely blended, they need to have a little bit of chunks for me, so I added some black beans. Lastly, the chipotle seemed like the right kind of spice to go with pumpkin. They are smoky and spicy, but be careful with them; It doesn’t take much to overpower the soup. I can usually find the chipotles in a can at Cub Foods in the section where they have Mexican foods.
Roasted Pumpkin and Chipotle Soup
- 1 pie pumpkin (about 3 ½ pounds)
- 1 large onion
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 qt vegetable broth
- Chipotles in adobo sauce; as many, or as few, as you like (go easy with these, I only used 2 chipotles and my wife still thought the soup was a little too spicy)
- 1 can black beans (with the liquid)
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 3-4 tbsp fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub off any dirt on the outside then split the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (save them and roast them with a little salt and chili powder for a snack). Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper, then turn them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast them for 30-35 minutes or until tender. Let them cool until you can handle them without burning your fingers.
Turn the pumpkin halves back over and scoop out the insides (get rid of the skins). Heat some olive oil in a large soup pot and sauté the onions with a little salt until they begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add the vegetable broth, pumpkin, and chipotles. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Hit the soup with an immersion blender until it is smooth and creamy. Be careful to keep the blender in the soup or you will have pumpkin goodness all over your kitchen. If you do not have an immersion blender, you could take it for a spin in your food processor; just be careful pouring out that hot soup. Once you have it to the consistency you like, add the beans (with the liquid), cream, cilantro, cumin, and chili powder. Stir that in and give it a few minutes to heat up. Add in the cheese and stir until it is melted. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste, if it needs it.
Now you can contemplate how you want to serve this tasty soup….in a bowl or in a pumpkin. You know you want to go that extra mile and have some fun with it; so here’s how…
Roasted Pumpkin Serving Bowl
- 1 pumpkin (about 5-6 pounds is a good size)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub off any dirt on the outside then cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds (save these to roast them with the others). Put the pumpkin on a baking sheet and place the top back on it. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Leave the top on while you let it cool a bit. When you are ready to serve your soup take the top off, put the pumpkin on a dish (just in case it leaks), and pour in the soup. Only about half of it fit in my pumpkin bowl, so I kept the rest warm in a crock pot and refilled it later.
This recipe does make plenty of soup, so you want to make it when you have a crowd. I brought this to a friend’s Sukkah party and there were 16 people there for dinner. Everyone got to have a cup of soup and there was still some left over to put in the fridge.