Every once in a while, it’s time to cook up an old recipe on the blog, take new photos, and tweak the dish up to today’s standard. That’s exactly what happened the other day with the blog’s very first pumpkin soup from way back in November, 2009. With my book club meeting in my living room last Thursday, I thought I’d move away from the same-old, same-old cheese and whatever….and make a soup I could serve in coffee mugs along with the glass of wine we enjoy. Change = good. I looked at the not few pumpkin soups I’ve blogged and settled on the simple, but fun 12-year-old version that is finished off with peanuts and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. As I sometimes will, I tried making it right from the original recipe, which is so old it’s not even printable. While good, it needed perking up, thickening, and expanding. I was amazed, though, to see how readable the recipe was even then. That’s not to say it didn’t need editing and redoing. It did.Jump to Recipe
I began food blogging in May of 2009 on the advice of Melissa Clark, without knowing what a food blog was and having no idea how to upload a photo. My first post had no pictures. Having not a clue, I looked up (did I google?) "food blogs." Came up with a couple to look at, one of which was that of David Lebovitz -- still one of my all-time favorite blogs. That David is based in Paris continues to enchant me and will do the same for you, I'm sure. I've just remembered I even depended on David to decide what camera to buy, though it was a few years before there was money for that. The early look around the world of food blogging included Clotilde Dusoulier's Chocolate & Zucchini -- again remaining a strong favorite in the field and in my heart -- and the now ended, but still tale-telling Orangette by Molly Wizenberg. I missed, and am still missing, tons of great posts from wonderful bloggers and other food writers because I can only spend so much time on the computer. Zzzzzz. I devote a great deal of time to reading, playing the piano, and cooking for other people, most of all my loves-to-eat husband. For the first many years of the blog, I also--needing ready cash-- worked as a librarian and/or church music director. I taught private piano lessons in the living room, too. Forgive me, all of you wonderful food folks; time was short. Luckily retirement leaves me with more opportunity to think-dream about the blog and the blogs of others--yes! It's more fulfilling than ever, and I'm so grateful to readers, friends, cooking students, former choir members and piano students, and family who follow and cook to keep me on my toes (in my apron?). THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! If there were blog emojis, I'd stick in hearts and full Champagne glasses.
The basic and original flavor profile of the soup remains intact; it’s so similar, but I nudged the soup up the scale of goodness enough to make a decided difference. This dish will fit right in a dinner party Thanksgiving or Christmas as a first course or easily serve as a filling, fast, and inexpensive Meatless Monday dinner with cornbread or crusty rolls and butter. Since the ingredients are, for the most part, sitting in your pantry (think canned pumpkin), you could whip up my peanut butter-enhanced soup nearly anytime. It’s already gluten-free (check all purchased ingredients) and can be easily made into a vegan soup as noted in the headnote. I ended up eating a tiny dish out of the pot stone cold when I needed something in my stomach while taking some medicine and as is often true of blended or creamy soups, it was perfectly delicious cold. That makes me say you could cook some mid-summer and take a container along in the cooler on a picnic when no one in the whole world is thinking pumpkin anything at all. Surprise! I tasted it thoroughly without the cream and found the soup more pumpkin-y and tasting of the vegetables therein if those are your druthers. The cream, however, adds a caressing velvet texture and decadence you, too, will like when you try this:
Creamy Pumpkin-Peanut Soup
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 3 plump large cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 each: trimmed stalks of celery and medium trimmed unpeeled carrots
- 2 apples cored but unpeeled
- Handful fresh parsley
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 8 sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage
- Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thymeor 2 teaspoons dry thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salted butter can sub olive oil
- Pinch crushed red pepper, optional
- ½ cup white wine, optional
- 2 (15-ounce) cans puréed pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter-or to taste
- 1 ½ quarts (6 cups) vegetable broth
- 2-3 drops of hot sauce, optional
- 1 cup heavy cream, half and half, or non-fat evaporated milk (can sub non-dairy milk or leave out)
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and/or chopped peanuts for garnish
- Process, pulsing, first nine ingredients (onions-thyme) in food processor until almost puréed or cut into a small dice with a knife. Add the oil and butter to a large soup pot; heat over medium heat with the crushed red pepper, if using, for 30 seconds. Add puréed or chopped vegetable and herb mixture along with 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt and ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper.
- Sauté 10 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. Pour in white wine, if using, and let cook, stirring, until nearly evaporated. Add pumpkin, peanut butter, broth, and hot sauce, if using. Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly, or until everything is tender.
- Purée using an immersion blender or carefully in batches in a blender–or leave chunky. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add cream or milk. Heat through without boiling. Taste and adjust seasonings one last time. Serve hot in warmed bowls garnished with either Parmigiano-Reggiano, chopped peanuts, or both. Summertime version? Let cool in pot, refrigerate overnight, and serve cold.Store well-covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Freeze without cream in airtight containers or freezer bags 4-6 months. Thaw in fridge overnight, heat slowly over medium flame until simmering. Turn off; add cream or milk. Heat though without boiling and serve hot.
ANOTHER PUMPKIN SOUP?
CHANGE IT UP:
- Make it GF/VEGAN: See head note of recipe.
- Make it lower fat: Skip the cream; use low-fat evaporated milk or omit the milk entirely. Use a cooking spray instead of the olive oil/butter.
- Make it butternut squash instead of pumpkin: Sub mashed butternut squash for the pureed pumpkin. You can buy mashed butternut squash in a can.
- Use pears instead of apples or use a mixture.
- Cut this recipe in half if need be. Double it if you like.
- Freeze before adding cream or milk.
- Trader Joe’s sells shelf-stable whipping cream.
- Freeze your Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds to toss in bean or other soup pots.
Looking ahead to Thanksgiving …
Listen to THE SPLENDID TABLE’S TURKEY CONFIDENTIAL THANKSGIVING DAY:
Have a Thanksgiving question? Turkey Confidential will be pre-recorded this year and we'd love to answer your questions in advance! Record them on your phone’s voice memo app — do it solo, with a friend, or have your kid send us one! Ship them to email@example.com or go old school and leave us a message at 800-537-5252. We have amazing guests including Southern baking Goddess Cheryl Day of Back in the Day Bakery, the charming Pati Jinich, author of the forthcoming Treasures of the Mexican Table and host of the new PBS Primetime special La Frontera, Co-authors of the newest book, Cooking at Home, Chef David Chang and food journalist Priya Krishna, and J.Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats. Listen to Turkey Confidential 2021 on your local public radio station or on your favorite podcast app. Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Pandora or check your local radio station on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25, 2021.
Roast Turkey, Gravy, and Stuffing/JACQUES PEPIN (If you never intend to cook a turkey, this is still well worth watching!)
Pumpkin-Ginger Crunch Cheesecake/MORETIMEATTHETABLE (includes link to GF option)
LIFE GOES ON:
Thanks for keeping me company in the kitchen. You are appreciated.
Did you have a great Halloween? We watched the World Series, of course, but did have TWO tricker or treaters! Occasionally we have zero, so two was good. Weather was cold and misty….
Be well and cook on,