Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Bacon

I’m not a pumpkin person. I can eat maybe one or two pumpkin items per year, and then I’ve had my quota (this is a 2x increase over the number of pumpkin products I used to eat each pumpkin season).

So bear with me even if you’re not a pumpkin person wither; this soups taps into the “squash” side of the pumpkin’s personality, rather than the “spice” part. If you like a good butternut squash soup, consider giving this a try. The reason the recipe caught my eye was for the “sage” and “bacon” part. You can never go wrong with sage and bacon, right? (I have been having a several-year love affair with sage, ever since I discovered it in a butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli recipe.)

I made this more or less according to the recipe and all of our dinner guests (who had been forewarned that it was an experimental meal) approved. So, it’s certainly good in its current form. In retrospect, I would like to highlight the pumpkin flavor a bit more, which means using less potatoes – I think they sort of overpowered the pumpkin in both flavor and texture.

Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Bacon

adapted from 5th and State, via Pinterest

2-4 slices bacon (I used 4 slices for a double recipe and that seemed like enough, but can you ever have too much bacon?)

2 T butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 1/2 t dried, rubbed sage

2 1/4 c pumpkin flesh (I’d guess this is about half of a small/medium-ish pumpkin)

2 small white potatoes, peeled and diced

2 c vegetable or chicken stock

1 c half-n-half

1/2 t powdered ginger (or 2 t freshly grated ginger)

1/2 t lemon juice

pinch grated nutmeg

salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Chop the bacon into small pieces and fry in the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate and add the onion to the pan. Saute the onion until soft, then add the garlic and sage and cook for another minute or two. Add the vegetable or chicken broth/stock, ginger, the potatoes and the pumpkin (cut into chunks).

*Note: I had a heck of a time cutting into my pumpkin as the skin was really thick and tough. I have a healthy respect for my knives, so I just popped the whole pumpkin into the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes so soften it up. It probably could have used a bit longer, but at least I was able to hack into it without losing a limb. I cut the pumpkin into wedges and put it back into the oven for another 30+ minutes (this can be super flexible; you can get some nice caramelization on it, but just be sure not to burn it), and then I scooped all the flesh into the pot with the potatoes and stock. I don’t think this changed the flavor much, but it was a whole lot easier for me and saved a lot of hassle cutting the pumpkin off the super tough skin.

Simmer the potatoes and pumpkin in the stock for 30 minutes or so until tender, and then blend using a blender (in small batches as hot liquid can explode easily from a blender) or an immersion blender. Add the cream, nutmeg and lemon juice and simmer until heated through.

Garnish with bacon and a drizzle of cream.

(I garnished with bacon and the pumpkin seeds that I had roasted with olive oil, salt, sage and cayenne … the seeds tasted great, but they got awfully chewy after a few minutes in the soup, so I wouldn’t do that again.)

We enjoyed the soup with a nice loaf of bread and a spinach-chicken salad.¬† A great healthy-but-filling autumn meal … finished with a peanut butter cream pie, because you don’t want to be TOO healthy on a Saturday night!