Fall is finally here in the northern part of the Mid-Atlantic Coast. And for me, fall means pumpkins 🎃. And pumpkins mean pumpkin bread, pumpkin pies, and pumpkin soup.
Now, one can always bake pumpkin goodies using canned pumpkin, but I look forward buying my pie pumpkins at the grocery store or a roadside stand in WV, and roasting my pumpkin and pureeing it myself.
To roast your own pumpkin, buy pie pumpkins (the small ones; sometimes called sugar pumpkins), remove the stem if it is still attached, and cut in half. You will need 2-3 pumpkins depending on the size you have. You cannot use jack o’lantern pumpkins because they have a high water content and little taste – i.e., they’re not good eating. Next, scoop the seeds out of the halves. You can roast those later like regular pumpkin seeds.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. Spray lightly with non-stick spray. Place the halves face-down on the sheets and roast in the oven for 90 minutes. When done, take them out of the oven and let them cool down until you can handle them.
Scoop the pumpkin out of the skin – it will come out easily. If you are going to use it for the following soup recipe, you don’t need to purée it more, as you will as a part of the recipe. Do put it in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and let water drain out for an hour or so. I usually do this a day or two before I make the soup, just because it is a more time-consuming process. I then put it in the fridge until I’m ready to use. If it will be more than a week, place it in the freezer. Cooked pumpkin freezes beautifully.
You should try this method for making fresh pumpkin for pumpkin pie. In that case you will want to purée the pumpkin in a food processor or blender or use an immersion blender.
Now you can experience the joy of cooking with fresh bright orange pumpkin – and this soup is a wonderfully spicy filling soup. I have difficulty even finishing the whole cup and 1/2 serving, because it is so rich, even though it has next to no calories (less than 50 per serving). The bonus is that it is sky high in Vitamins A and low in carbohydrates.
Feel free to make this soup with butternut squash in place of the pumpkin. If you buy prepackaged butternut squash cubes, use 5 cups of raw squash cubes, and increase the pressure cooking time to 10 minutes. You can also roast whole squash halves using the same method as for pumpkin, and then it is a one-to-one substitute and involves the same pressure cooking time.