We know it’s not anywhere near autumn. Trust us, living in the desert southwest, we know that it’s still summer. Even so, we make soup about once a week, simply because we save vegetable scraps (corn cobs, onion trimmings, carrot peels, etc.) through the week, then simmer them for 45 minutes to make stock. Using that stock, we make soup. And, today, it was a version of pumpkin soup, simply because we had some roasted pumpkin in the freezer.
As with most soups, we simply think about what we’d like for the flavor profile, then just start putting ingredients into the soup pan, simmering, and, an hour later, we have our soup. It may seem haphazard to novice cooks, but soup is one of those things that you really can’t mess up. Well, you can, but, most of the time, home- scratched soup turns out great. Try this one and see what you think — it’s a Scratchin’ It original, not to be found anywhere else.
We went with rosemary and sage, since these are herbs that are associated with the fall: sage, of course, with Thanksgiving, which seems as if it’ll match well with pumpkin. We used pumpkin, well, cushaw squash, actually, that we roasted ourselves earlier this season, but canned pumpkin should work perfectly well, too. If you don’t have fresh herbs, feel free to use dried; we would. Now, if you’re wondering about the use of vinegar, it’s a great way to make flavors pop. As with salt, a small amount of vinegar (or another acid, such as lemon juice) makes flavor stand out, so get in the habit of adding just a bit, and we guarantee your meals will be better.
Procedure in detail:
Cook vegetables. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper to start adding flavor, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic, and continue cooking and stirring until the garlic aroma starts to waft around, about a minute more.
Cook pumpkin. With our pumpkin, we definitely wanted to cook off a bit of the liquid — with canned pumpkin, this might not be necessary — so we added the pumpkin and brought it to a boil. Now let it simmer, stirring often, until it’s heated completely through and has thickened.
Add broth and simmer. Once the pumpkin is heated through, add the broth and the herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about an hour.
Blend. Pour the soup into a blender and crank it to the highest setting. Since the soup is hot, have a way for the expanding air to escape — perhaps with the lid slightly ajar, but held in place under a clean dishtowel. If you don’t vent the blender, it’ll vent itself, and you can just guess how much hot soup will splatter everywhere.
Season. Once blended smooth, give the soup a taste. Yes, right from the blender, and add salt and pepper as needed. Blend in the seasoning, taste again, and adjust. If needed, add a bit more vinegar, too.
Strain. Since this is a smooth soup, we always make sure to strain it through a fine mesh strainer. It’s not required, but it makes for a better mouthfeel and a nicer-textured soup, so we think the extra effort is worth it.
Serve. We filled our bowls, dusting the top with a bit of dried oregano.
When we were adding seasoning, we weren’t sure this soup was going to turn out well. It had a slight bitter taste — which can be good in some instances — but that went away with the addition of vinegar and salt, and the resulting soup was very good. We had originally thought of adding just a bit of cayenne pepper to the soup, but we were surprised that the soup actually tasted slightly spicy, probably from the fresh rosemary and sage. This is an easy four star dish.