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Smoked Pumpkin Soup Recipe

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Nothing says Halloween like the sight of orange pumpkins displayed on porches and the smell of smoke in crisp cool fall air. Ahhh…. Halloween I love you! You kick off The Holiday Season… you make me nostalgic. And though, I may not decorate my house for you, I will go all out and cook for you! You call for a comforting, luxurious, velvety warm soup and one of my favorites is butternut squash soup. So in honor of you this year, I decided to start there and add a twist or two. I busted out my handy stovetop smoker and set about cutting up a small sugar pumpkin as the star ingredient in my special Halloween soup… just for you.

…Just for you, and as it happens for my friend’s birthday bash this month. It turned out to be the perfect time to taste test this recipe. So how did it come out? It was a hit! The soup is deceptively creamy, even though it has no cream. And there is such a unique, nice depth of flavor. The pumpkin seeds add a little textural crunch and the nutty browned butter flavor just shoves it right over the edge.

In selecting the wood to use, I decided on Alder, which is a mild smoke, perfect for vegetables. Maple would also be a good choice.

Smoked Pumpkin Soup Recipe

When it came to serving the soup, because the dinner was informal and we were for the most part all standing, I decided to serve it in plastic wine glasses so that guests cold enjoy without having to juggle their drinks at the same time.

While this recipe takes some time, there are several time saving steps you can take. Rather than making vegetable stock homemade, use store bought. In place of adding browned butter, try garnishing with a little sour cream, although only takes minutes to make. Also, you may roast the pumpkin in the oven instead of smoking it, but the smoke really adds so much character to the soup.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Soup:

Equipment:

The pumpkin can be smoked using a stovetop smoker such as this or on the grill.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb Sugar (baking) pumpkin
  • 3 TBSP alder smoking chips (for stove top smokers)
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter + 4 TBSP for browning (see recipe below)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (for a deeper flavor, toast cumin seeds in dry pa until fragrant, let cool, and grind yourself)
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable stock (see recipe below or use store bought)
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds (see recipe below)
  • Chives or cilantro for garnish

Instructions:

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Preparing the pumpkin:

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, remove and rinse seeds and scrape out stringy pulp in center. Set seeds aside.
  • Prepare the smoker with Alder chips (or other mild chips like Maple) according to smoker instructions. Cut the cleaned pumpkin into pieces so they fit into the smoker with the lid closed, leaving the skin on and place in smoker flesh side up. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
  • Smoke pumpkin on medium with cover slightly opened until you see smoke, then close completely. Smoke until soft, about an hour. Once pumpkin is almost soft, turn off heat and allow it to sit in the smoker with the lid closed an additional 15 to 20 minutes.*
  • Remove the pumpkin and let cool, then remove skin and discard. The skin should pull off easily in large pieces.

*Alternatively smoke the pumpkin on a grill set on medium with lid closed until soft. You will need to use regular sized smoking chips for this and soak them before using according to instructions.

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Preparing the pumpkin soup:

  • Cut smoked, skinned pumpkin into cubes. Cut the onion in half and slice, discarding ends. Chop celery.
  • Heat olive oil and butter in pan, add chopped onions and cook on medium low until soft. If you have the time allow them to get a deep golden color for more depth of flavor.
  • Add in celery and cook until soft. Add the cumin and stir for a minute.
  • Add butternut squash and vegetable stock, bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste and remove from heat.
  • Blend in batches, holding lid on blender with towel so the heat does not force the lid off and spray hot soup everywhere.
  • Pass the soup through a fine sieve, forcing through with a wooden spoon or soup ladle.
  • To serve ladle into bowls, drizzle with browned butter (see recipe below), top with toasted cumin pumpkin seeds and a few thinly sliced chives or cilantro leaves.

Vegetable Stock:

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions quartered
  • 1 carrot rough chopped
  • 2 – 3 celery stalks rough chopped
  • Handful of Italian parsley stems
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 TBSP whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ¼ cup dried oyster mushrooms (optional – I like the added flavor, you may also add in any mushroom scraps you have on hand)

Instructions:

Stock is a great way to use scraps you have left from onions, celery, carrots, parsley, mushrooms, etc. Use what you have on hand

  • In a large heavy bottomed heat olive oil and then sauté onion, carrot, and onion until softened.
  • Add water to cover, thyme sprigs, black peppercorns, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer then add oyster mushrooms and mushroom broth.
  • Let cook about an hour. You should have about 4 cups of stock, if needed add water as it’s cooking so you have enough stock.
  • Strain stock pressing vegetables lightly with back of wooden spoon or ladle to release liquid. Discard vegetables.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Rinse saved seeds from pumpkin well and then boil in salted water for 10 minutes.
  • Dry seeds well, toss in grapeseed or olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and cumin powder.
  • Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring every so often until done.

Browned Butter:

Butter browns quickly so keep an eye on it. You can do this right before you ladle the soup into the bowls to serve.

  • Cut butter into equal sized pieces
  • Heat in pan over medium low to medium heat with a light colored bottom so you can see the butters color turn as it browns.
  • Swirl the pan or stir as the butter heats. The butter will foam and the butter will begin to turn to a tan and then amber color. You can smell the toasty aroma. Pour into a ramekin so it stops the cooking.

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Dana Wilde grew up playing “sous chef” for her father as he churned out one amazing meal after the next for family and friends. She inherited her father’s life long passion for cooking and has spent the past two decades studying, reading, practicing, experimenting, and creating in the kitchen. Together, she and her sister, Shan are Simply Wilde, a small boutique catering business focusing on in-home entertaining.
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