Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

To me, autumn does not officially start until certain things are available at the grocery store. This past weekend I saw one of those items, the first pumpkins of the season. They had several varieties available for purchase. There were small decorative gourds, large ones for carving jack-o-lanterns, and sweet pie pumpkins. As soon as I saw these, I knew I wanted to make a pumpkin soup.



I have tried numerous pumpkin soups in the past. I have had both savory and sweet varieties, but my favorites are soups that incorporate qualities of each. In this soup, I decided to use some savory fall flavors as well as flavors that are traditionally found in pumpkin pies and breads. Sweet potatoes and sage are classic fall flavors and can traditionally be found on every Thanksgiving table. Additionally, thyme lends a flavor that ties back to summer, yet will be around most of the fall. Allspice, a wonderful complement to cinnamon in pie, adds a sweet element to the dish without becoming overpowering.

One of the secrets I use in this soup is an ordinary tea ball. Tea balls are mesh balls used to brew loose tea. Although I usually do not purchase loose tea, I keep a couple of these around for times when I want to flavor something, but remove the flavoring ingredient for aesthetic reasons. In this case, in order to keep the orange color free of specks when the soup is blended, I stuff the thyme, sage, and allspice into a tea ball. If it does not all fit in one, no problem. I just grab a second tea ball and stuff the rest in the second one. Once the soup has simmered, removing the herbs easy, as long as you remember to clip the tea ball to the side of the pan.

For a festive presentation, you can serve this soup in roasted pumpkin bowls. To make them, just cut the top off of a pie pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds and stringy stuff (technically, fibrous strands, but stringy stuff sounds better). Once pumpkin is hollowed out, brush the inside with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes. 


Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

2 pie pumpkins (about 2 lbs each)
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, torn
4 stems thyme
6 whole allspice berries
Salt
White pepper
Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice pumpkins in half. Scoop out seeds and stringy stuff and discard (if desired, pumpkin seeds can be saved for eating later). Place pumpkins sliced side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast in oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until able to be handled. Scoop flesh from pumpkins and reserve.




In large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.  Cook onions in oil until tender.  Add garlic, stir and cook 1 minute more.







Add sweet potatoes and broth, bring to a boil. Meanwhile, place sage, thyme, and allspice in tea ball or wrap in cheesecloth. Add to pot as soon as liquid begins to boil. Cover and boil 15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.





Remove seasoning packet from soup. Add reserved pumpkin and heat through. Using stick blender, puree soup until smooth (alternatively, transfer soup to blender in batches and puree). Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Just before serving, drizzle each bowl with one tablespoon of cream.




12 comments:

  1. Looks like a good recipe. I'm a big fan of squash-type soups, so I'm always on the look out for new recipes. I particularly like the combo of spices you're using in this recipe. I'll have to try this soon. I just found you through Days of Chalk and Chocolate and I'm your newest follower. I'd love it if you'd follow me back at www.crazythriftycrafts.blogspot.com.

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  2. Oh my goodness ! This looks amazing ! I hope I could persuade you to come share this post at my Farm Girl Blog Fest: http://fresh-eggs-daily.blogspot.com/2012/09/farm-girl-friday-blog-fest-2.html

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  3. So unique and your presentation is beautiful! Thanks for sharing at Church Supper. Have a blessed week & come back soon ~EMM

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  4. I love a good pumpkin soup and am a huge fan fan of sweet potato. I'm definitely trying this one! Thanks for sharing at Melting Moments.

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  5. Your soup in the shell looks delicious!! I've never roasted pumpkin like this to use as the bowl, but it's making my mouth water and I might have to give it a go!

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  6. Hi John,
    Your Roasted pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup looks delicious, I really like the nice warm fall seasons in the recipe. Nice presentation in the pumpkin. Hope you have a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  7. I would never have thought of the tea ball method, that's pretty brilliant ;-)

    Thanks for linking this up, it sounds absolutely wonderful! Happy Monday!

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  8. Hey from tessacotton! Love your creation, looks delicious. I would be so thrilled if you would link up to my new, halloween themed linky party, live today!
    http://tessacotton.blogspot.com/2012/10/halloween-link-party.html

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  9. John,
    This looks delish! I love soup and can't wait to try this but I've never cooked with fresh pumpkin before. What brand are "Pie Pumpkins"? Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday. Can’t wait to see what you share this week! Have a wonderful week.
    Michelle

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    Replies
    1. Michelle,
      Thanks for the comment. Pie pumpkins are not a brand, they are pumpkins that weigh about 2-3 lbs and are about 7-10 inches in diameter. I usually use the smaller ones for the bowls and the larger ones to make the soup. You should be able to find them in the produce section at your local supermarket.

      John

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  10. Great soup. Food on Friday is all about soup. It would be wonderful if you linked this in. Here's the link . Have a souper duper week!

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  11. Hi John. Sorry its been so long since my last Thriving on Thursdays linky party. Just wanted to let you know how much I loved your recipe and I'm starting the party up again tomorrow where I will feature your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    Anne xx

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