Many of us often think of carving a pumpkin instead of cooking with it. After trying a few of our recipes using pumpkins you may be purchasing pumpkins, first to decorate and then to enjoy in a wonderful soup on a cold crisp autumn day. The rosemary adds an earthy flavor and the bacon and the onions complement it with a savory flavor. I chose to ladle the soup into small whole pumpkins for added presentation. This is not necessary however my children were captivated by the pumpkin bowl and were eager to try what was inside. Not to mention we had additional seeds for baking. If wanting to serve in small pumpkins purchase enough to accommodate the number of people serving. Please note that the pumpkin from the bowls isn’t used to make the soup. When purchasing your pumpkin pick one that is over four pounds. The pumpkin being used is measured in weight as opposed to cups to make it easier for you when purchasing a pumpkin. Ingredient amounts will serve 4 – 6 depending on the type of bowls being used.
1 – 4 pound pumpkin, seeds and rind removed (this will yield about 3 pounds of pumpkin flesh)
2 – 14 oz. cans of 99% fat free chicken broth
2 whole sprigs of rosemary
1 – 16 oz. package of bacon
2 cups of yellow onions sliced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, add more if desired
Additional small pumpkins hollowed out to use as serving bowls
Remove rind and seeds from pumpkin. Chop into pieces. Place all pumpkin pieces into a large pot. Add the broth and rosemary to the pot, cover and simmer over low to medium heat until pumpkin is fork tender. It will turn a beautiful yellow color. At this point remove rosemary sprigs.
While pumpkin is simmering cook bacon in a large deep skillet until crisp, remove and place onto a paper towel to remove any excess grease from bacon. Set deep skillet aside with bacon grease in a location whereas no one can reach it until it cools and hardens. At that point I take a ziplock bag and place it into a large coffee cup and using a spatula I pour the harden drippings into the baggie and close it and discard baggie into the garbage. Do not pour grease directly down drain. The grease is not good for your pipes, septic or anything else for that matter. In a medium skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat and sauté onions until slightly browned. Add sugar and sauté until caramelized. Add about a cup of the broth to deglaze and remove from heat.
Chop half of the bacon into small pieces and set aside for topping each bowl of the soup. In a blender add remaining bacon, onions, pumpkin, broth and salt. Blend in batches and be careful when blending that the lid is securely in place and place a towel over lid. Because the components are still hot it will expand within the blender and can splash out. I usually pulse to have a little more control. Another option is to use a handheld blender and blend all components in the large pot vs. using a blender. Once it is blended to a smooth consistency place back into the large pot and simmer for about 5 minutes. Ladle into desired bowls, top with bacon and a small sprig of rosemary if desired.
Try Rodney Strong Chardonnay (California), Hahn Estates Chardonnay (Monterey), Pozzi Bianco (Sicilia), Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (Milton, DE) or Michelob Brewing Co. Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale (St. Louis, MO).