It is week 5 of the Sunday Slow Soupers ~ a group of Slow Travel members cooking soup and blogging together every Sunday. This week's selection is Pumpkin Soup with Cheddar and Parmesan selected by Slow Travel member Nancyhol.
This recipe was originally published in Bon Appetit in 1994. Nancy selected it because it sounded like a good starter for Christmas dinner. It would be great. Several of our recent soups would also be good for a holiday dinner. I'm thinking about making Amy's Chestnut and Porcini Soup again.
This soup was very tasty and easy to make. It came together quickly especially using the canned pumpkin. I made it vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using vegetarian broth. I added a little smoked paprika to give it a little smoky flavor that the bacon would have provided. I also cut the recipe in half since it makes servings for 8 instead of 4.
I added a little sherry at the end to liven the flavors. Cindy Ruth at Baked Alaska suggested adding something to liven the flavor and I think it helped it. I'm not a big fan of savory pumpkin dishes but I do love butternut squash. I think butternut squash is a little sweeter and that helps the flat flavor of canned pumpkin.
Here's the original recipe and my modifications in italics.
Pumpkin Soup with Cheddar & Parmesan
8 bacon slices, chopped (omit bacon for vegetarian version)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth (use vegetarian broth for vegetarian version)
2 16-ounce cans solid pack pumpkin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 cup half and half
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
Saute bacon in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat until brown, about 8 minutes. Pour off drippings. Add oil to same Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and saute until vegetables begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Stir in 8 cups stock, pumpkin and thyme. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in blender. Return to Dutch oven. Mix in half and half and nutmeg. Stir in additional stock if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to simmer before continuing.)
Combine cheeses in medium bowl. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with 1/4 cup cheese mixture and serve.