Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Posted by on Oct 26, 2012 in Food Journal, Holidays, Soups

Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Southwestern Pumpkin Soup (recipe follows) – I decided to make Southwestern Pumpkin Soup for two very simple reasons. One, because I love, love, love pumpkin. Like a lot. Including pumpkin soup.  I wait the whole year for Fall to roll around so I can get some pumpkin. One year I even thought I’d be smart and buy a bunch of pumpkin while it was around and then I could have it all year. Guess what, it didn’t work. All that happened is that I  thought “Yay, I have a huge supply of pumpkin and now I can eat all I want”. Then I did. Then I ran out really fast. Don’t get the wrong idea, I know I’m making it sound like I bought like 20 cases of canned pumpkin, but it was more like eight cans. I thought that seemed like plenty, easily one pumpkin thing a month. But, like I said, it didn’t work out the way I had planned. That’s OK anyway, I’ve kind of since figured out that the anticipation is half of the fun. Who was it that said “Hunger is the best sauce”? Cervantes maybe? Anyway, that’s the first reason for the pumpkin soup. And the second reason explains why it’s “southwest” pumpkin soup. Simple really, I live in the Southwest. I found the inspiration for the “southwest” part of the pumpkin soup in my beautiful surroundings. Plus, every year for Thanksgiving, I’ve always done the more traditional dishes – well, traditional American along with a little mix of traditional Puerto Rican (for my hubbie and kiddies). But I think I’m going to  do a fun Southwest theme this year and use this for the first course. I’m still thinking about the rest of the meal. I think it’s going to involve chipotle in some way. I’ll let you know. Enough about that though, let’s concentrate on the recipe at hand – delicious Southwest Pumpkin Soup!
Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon olive oil
3 strips bacon (apple-wood smoked preferred)
1/2 large shallot, minced
3 cups chicken stock (you can also use canned broth)
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar (dark is better)

garnish options

cilantro
creme fraiche (or plain yogurt or sour cream)
cheddar cheese

Instructions

1. Slice the bacon into small pieces. Saute it until it’s almost done the way you like it, then add the shallot. I like the bacon to be crispy for this, but I know some people don’t like crispy bacon, so, to each his own. If you like your bacon super crispy, cook it a little longer before you add the shallot so you don’t burn your shallot. Make sure your shallot gets at least a minute or two in the pan though. If it’s getting too dark too quick, turn the heat down or off.
2. When the bacon and shallot are done, remove them from the pan and put them to the side. They will be garnish later. Pour the grease out of the pan, but don’t worry about the tiny bit that’s left behind. This is a good and yummy thing and it’s going to add flavor. Return the pan to the heat.
3. Add about 1/4 cup of the chicken stock  into the saute pan. Scrape up all of the brown goodness that the bacon left behind. Pour this liquid into a small bowl and place it in the freezer to cool. The idea here is that we are going to kind of “extract” the bacon flavor without putting the grease into our final product. So when you put the small bowl of the 1/4 cup of chicken stock with the fond (that’s the brown goodness) into the freezer to cool, the bacon grease will separate and be easy to remove when we’re ready for it. Just as a note here, you can skip this step entirely and just move on to the next step. However, you will be missing out on a beautiful smoky background flavor in your soup. It really adds a nice richness.
4. In a separate pot, bring the rest of your chicken stock to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium.
5. Whisk in the can of pumpkin.
6. Whisk in the chili flakes, cumin, coriander, chili powder, nutmeg, black pepper and the brown sugar.
7. Allow the soup to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
8. Remove the soup from the heat. Whisk as you add in the heavy whipping cream. Do not do this if your soup was above a very light simmer. It can make your soup “break”. That means it will separate and curdle and it won’t be pretty. Also, once you add the cream, do not take it above a light simmer. If your soup was boiling or simmering like crazy, just let it cool for a few minutes. Ideally, it will be under 190°F. But, like I said, as long as it was only simmering, don’t worry about it, just take it off the stove and add your cream. This really isn’t as difficult as I think I may be making it sound, I just want you to understand what happened if your soup should curdle so you know what to correct for next time.
9. Check on your small bowl of chicken stock and bacon goodness from earlier. Remove as much grease as you can and add it into the soup.
10.If necessary, return the pot to the stove and place the heat on low to bring the soup up to serving temperature. This generally won’t be needed, but just in case :). Remember, don’t take the soup above a simmer at this point because it may “break”.
11. Taste the soup and decide if it needs some more salt or pepper but keep in mind that you’ll be garnishing with the bacon and that will add more salt flavor.
12.Place your soup into the serving bowls with a spoon of the bacon and shallot from earlier then add any of the extra garnishes that you choose.

How to video coming soon!


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