Easy 4-ingredient homemade pumpkin soup in half an hour

November means cooler weather, even here in Tampa, where’s it’s expected to drop to a relatively brisk 68°F/20°C this evening (I did say “relatively”). That means it’s soup season, and for most people most of the time, soup means this:

Thanks to a combination of Hallowe’en and marketing, it’s not just soup season, but pumpkin season, which for most people mean these:

But let me convince you that pumpkin is for more than pies and sickly-sweet coffee — it’s great for dinner as well! As proof, here’s my dirt-simple recipe for pumpkin soup.

It has only four main ingredients…

  • One pie pumpkin (about 2 pounds / 1 kilo)
  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 1 liter (about 32 ounces) of your favorite broth
  • 4 or more tablespoons of butter or your favorite butter substitute

…plus whatever herbs, spices, or garnishes you’d like to add. There’s lot of room to be creative in that department.

You’ll also need:

  • A big pot
  • A microwave oven large enough to hold the pumpkin (luckily, pie pumpkins are smaller than Jack O’ Lantern pumpkins)
  • An immersion blender, a.k.a. stick mixer

You’ll do most of the cooking in the pot. Chop the onions, toss them into the pot with the butter and cook them until the onions are soft. The following are photos that I took on Sunday, when I made my most recent batch of soup:

While the onions cook, heat up the pumpkin so that it’s soft enough to scoop out. I do it the lazy way: I poke a slit in it with a paring knife, and put in the microwave at high (my microwave is 1200 watts; cooking times vary with power) for 15 minutes. Remember to poke a slit into the pumpkin if you don’t want your microwave to end up like a Cronenberg movie

Once the onions are soft, add the broth. Bring it to a simmer, which means “bring it to boiling, then dial the heat down just below boiling”. You’ll know that the stock is simmering when tiny bubbles pop up here and there on its surface, with irregular wisps of steam appearing from time to time:

When the pumpkin’s done — it’ll be darker, and its stem will snap off easily — cut it open, remove the seeds, and…

…add its innards to the pot. Bring it to a simmer again:

Let the pot simmer for about 7 minutes, then turn off the heat. Use the immersion blender to purée the mixture until you have a smooth, creamy soup:

Season as you see fit. Some recommendations:

  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder, garlic salt, or garlic pepper
  • Herbes de provence
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Paprika
  • Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • Curry powder
  • Sazon
  • Oregano, or if you’re feeling Middle Eastern, zataar
  • Top with a dollop of sour cream

And serve!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can replace the pumpkin with all sorts of other vegetables. For example, to get a beautiful green pea soup, use peas. Two pounds of frozen peas will do the trick, and they’re soft enough in their raw state that you don’t have to heat them; just add them after you add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer:

In the end, you’ll have a beautiful, simple, delicious, and healthy homemade soup, and all in about half an hour!

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