This is one of our favorite soup recipes ever, combining the beta-carotene-rich nourishment of pumpkin with a delightful Autumn smokiness, a recipe that grew out of a soup shared with friends at a cozy fireside lunch in a nearby Colonial inn.
Outdoors, the weather may be cold and blustery, but this flavorful, creamy soup will warm your bodies and your souls!
3 tablespoons butter, margarine, or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small to medium carrot, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
1/2 cup well-scrubbed sweet potato, cut into chunks
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup pumpkin puree (or 1 cup chopped raw pumpkin)
1 slice oat bread, torn into pieces (this adds body and oaty nourishment. If oat bread is unavailable, substitute whole wheat and add 1 tablespoon rolled oats)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1/2 cup light cream or half-and-half (vegans may substitute soy milk or 2 tablespoons cashew or almond butter for a creamy texture)
1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese, grated (this is what gives the soup its delightful smoky flavor; vegans may use a few drops of natural smoke flavoring instead)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Suggested toppings (optional):
Dollop of sour cream, whipped cream, or crème fraiche
Small mound of grated smoked gouda
Grating of fresh nutmeg or a pinch of dried sage or thyme
Sprinkling of cayenne
Spoonful of raw or toasted pumpkin seeds
1. In a large soup pot, heat the butter on medium. When the butter is melted, add onion, garlic, carrot, and sweet potato. Saute the vegetables, stirring to coat with butter, for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent.
2. Add the vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, oat bread, thyme, and sage. Stir to mix thoroughly, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the sweet potato is tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Add the light cream, cheese, and parsley. Stir to mix and continue to simmer (do not boil) until the cheese is melted.
4. Puree in batches in your blender or food processor, adding more cream to thin, if needed.
5. Serve warm in individual bowls with a combination of any of the suggested toppings.