the classic pumpkin soup, to warm a perfect fall day
Last time this year, I was trying to figure out how a potiron, potimarron & citrouille were different. I’m still not quite sure. (Mes amis, qui peut l’expliquer?) Memories of that time have been rushing back to me lately…
When our CSA gave us a pie pumpkin, I knew exactly what it was going toward. Last year, Joe & I had our first batch of potimarron soup at a festival dedicated to the chestnut-shaped (and, oddly, chestnut-flavored) pint-sized pumpkin while watching a baker stuff puffy loaves into an outdoor brick oven. We had the soup again on a visit to our landlord, deeper into the hills of Germanic France, before going to watch her husband in a play.
Look at those nasty pumpkinsides. Now sure, you’ll get messy roastin’ the pumpkin, but if you opt for the 3-4 pound guys (which are said to have the best flavor-to-flesh ratio) you’ll have ample pumpkin. Here’s a picture of the Holy Trinity: a decorative pumpkin, lattes & muffins–all from less than a four-pound pumpkin.
The soup–a fall color & full of fall flavors–would always be topped off with a glob of crème fraiche. (What isn’t?) It is one of the first images & flavors that comes to mind when I think of our time spent in that tiny studio. I was excited to recreate the nights we spent sharing bowls of it with crusty baguettes, & I was delighted to finally have a full-sized oven. It makes pumpkin roasting (instead of dicing it up with a paring knife & then putting it in your steamer basket for ages) absolute cake. Here’s a great tutorial. Roast your pumpkin. Portion it out: save some for lattes, muffins & the like… but save 14 ounces (a can’s worth, or a bit more than a cup) for this simple soup. Don’t forget to toast your seeds, too!
Let’s do it: Soupe de potiron. This is a French recipe. Note: it has butter & milk. Use them.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- one laaaarge onion, white or yellow, chopped (or use a mix of onions, leeks & shallots for whatever flavor you prefer, but sum it up to about 1.5 cups of chopped onion)
- 32 ounces of vegetable broth (or two cans if that’s what you’re using)
- 14 ounces of pumpkin puree
- 1 cup of your favorite dairy (I’d use heavy cream if I had it. We had whole milk. I used it. The thicker the dairy, the thicker the soup. Comme vous voulez.)
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1.5 tsp cinnamonomonomon
- 1 tsp salt
- .5 tsp black pepper
- .5 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- Heat a large stock pot. Melt the butter, & sauté the onion.
- When the onion is aromatic & semi-translucent, add in half of your stock. Stir, cover, bring to a boil & reduce to a simmer. Simmer the onion-broth for 15 minutes.
- Put the onion-broth in the blender or food processor & blend until smooth. Pour back into stock pot. Add pumpkin, remaining stock & seasonings. Do not add your dairy yet.
- Bring to a boil. (This is why you haven’t added the dairy.) Reduce heat & simmer for 30 minutes.
- Stir in your dairy. Give it a few minutes to warm, then serve. I like mine with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of nutmeg & a good movie.
This recipe is great with fresh bread, good beer, cheap wine, smokey cheeses, friends & family, football, cinnamon bread croutons, The Office or gin & tonics. Come to think of it, I haven’t found anything I don’t enjoy pumpkin soup with. I hope you feel the same.