Our family has a long and happy relationship with Fall. I grew up in New England where fall colors were the highlight of the year. During long drives to see the beautiful foliage, we would wait for my mother to pull out her favorite word, “autumnal,” as in “It’s starting to smell autumnal,” or “Look at those gorgeous colors! Aren’t you starting to feel autumnal?”
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In moving to the Pacific Northwest, I missed the leaves but our family embraced pumpkin patches and the new look of the harvest season. Of course, we have a photo every year of our kids visiting a farm and sitting on a pumpkin, in the pumpkins, or on a horse-drawn carriage loaded down with pumpkins. Our favorite farm, Jubilee Farm in Carnation WA, had a catapult! Each year, we would look forward to watching Farmer Erick fling a pumpkin far across the field to explode wondrously on contact. We also found joy in discovering the corn maze north of Seattle in the shape of our state with all the paths depicting major and minor highways – a living map, muddy, and full of adventure.
Recent years are harder. The kids are growing up and we’ve made an international move that takes us far from many of our fall traditions. But there was a soup, a curried pumpkin soup, made from a recipe in a little book of soups that my aunt gave to me. Was it a wedding gift? A house-warming present? Never mind, it’s a delicious soup – reasonably healthy, reasonably easy, and extremely “autumnal.”
So yummy, in fact, that after I made it for my parents on a fall visit, my father sent me a pumpkin-shaped tureen as a thank you gift.
Last year, our first fall in our new home, I found a big chunk of pumpkin at the market. Yes, they sell pumpkin by the chunk here because the pumpkins are so large. In the PNW, we had experimented with lots of pumpkins and even squash. For sure, the very best soup came from Cinderella pumpkins, which are almost pink and magical.
I was unsure what this new pumpkin might taste like, but I brought it home enthusiastically only to realize that the little book of soups had not survived the move. Somewhat devastated, we began again … remembering as best we could, writing down the proportions we tried, and adjusting with the next effort. Here, our current version, modified by time and country, originally sourced from a little book of soups gifted by a wonderful aunt. It’s a flexible recipe, ready for use by those living in familiar and unfamiliar places. Looking so very forward to a steaming pot of curried pumpkin soup as soon as the kids are home again.
SteelRichards Curried Pumpkin Soup
- 2 medium-sized onions
- 2 apples (sweet, not tart)
- 5 cups (about 1.2 liters) cooked pumpkin (not from a can. Simply split the pumpkin open, de-seed, and place face down in a tray of water. Place in oven at 375F for about 40 min or until you can press down on the top lightly and feel that it is soft. I usually do this several hours in advance so that the pumpkin has cooled enough to scoop it out easily. Remember to drain the water before leaving the pumpkin to cool).
- 2.5 cups (about 0.6 liters) pre-made broth (about 2 USA-sized veggie broth or chicken-broth cube mixed with 2.5 cups water)
- 2 tablespoons (about 28 grams) curry powder (fresh! Don’t settle for something in an old glass jar.)
- About 2 teaspoons (about 10 grams) salt (salt to taste depending on curry powder, broth type, and pumpkin species)
- ½ cup (just over 100 ml) heavy cream
- About 6 tablespoons (about 100 g) butter
- White pepper to taste
1. Chunk the apples and onions (big chunks are fine).
2. Sauté in the butter until soft: start with the onions and add the apples when the onions are halfway to translucent.
3. Blend the pumpkin, apple, and onion in a blender, using part of the broth to make the process easier.
4. Replace the puree in the pot and add most of the rest of the broth.
5. Add the cream and curry powder – whisk together.
6. Adjust! Add in the rest of the broth, slowly, until the desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve right away or, even better, put it in the fridge overnight to let the flavors come together, re-heat, and serve the next day.
Enjoy your curried pumpkin soup with a “My, this tastes autumnal!”
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