One of my favorite things about winter is using up my fall porch decorations, my pumpkins and squash, to make tasty treats. This past fall I went to Apple Hill near Placerville (you can read the post about that here), I was attending a wedding, and I specifically picked out my pumpkins and squash with future consumption in mind. I picked them sturdy with no bruises or soft spots so they would last through the fall on my porch. This Saturday I cashed in on my decorations. I lounged around my house, reading and writing, even did some cleaning and tidying, while I roasting a pumpkin. I enjoyed the rain and Christmas music on the radio and the heat from the oven because, of course it took over an hour to cook the 10-pound pumpkin. As the pumpkin cooled, I wrapped Christmas gifts.
After I made the soup, I packed up a picnic basket with the soup, crème fraîche, and a loaf of French bread and walked two blocks down the street to my friend’s house to watch The National Lampoon’s Holiday Vacation, a classic American Christmas movie that I had never seen. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday in December.
I hope you have been enjoying your Saturdays and every-days in December. Maybe you will find the opportunity to make this soup, it is a crowd pleaser and unique to the season. I have already made three batches of it to use up my 10 pounds of pumpkin meat and so my parents, co-workers, friends, and I have all been thoroughly enjoying this treat. You can make it spicier if you like by increasing the amount of cayenne pepper. I also prefer a thicker soup so I use 2 pounds of pumpkin to the 4 cups of broth but this also depends on your preference and the juiciness of your pumpkin.
Creamy Pumpkin Soup
4 tbsp. butter—if using salted, decrease the amount of salt you add to the soup
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, more if you like spicy
Dash of salt
1.5-2 lb. fresh roasted pumpkin meat, or canned pumpkin, it comes in 15 oz cans
4 c. vegetable broth
1/2 c. whipping cream
Crème fraîche for garnish
In a heavy soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat until it begins to brown. Add the onions and sauté for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the garlic, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and salt and cook for three minutes. Add the pumpkin and broth. Remove the pot from the stove top and blend with an immersion blender until the mixture is creamy and no chunks remain. Return to medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for twenty minutes. Turn off heat, add cream, stir to incorporate, cover and let sit for ten minutes.
Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and fresh bread for dipping. Enjoy with your favorite holiday movie and a glass of zinfandel or sauvignon blanc. It goes great with both red and white wine! Light a fire to really feel in the Christmas spirit.