Today’s recipe feature is Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Bacon and Croutons. The versatile gourd is oven roasted and then wonderfully seasoned with shallots, dry sherry and fresh thyme. Made extra fantastic with cream and garnished with bacon and croutons, this soup is a delicious starter for any meal. Healthy and joyous eating!
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Bacon and Croutons (Recipe courtesy The CHOW.com)
- 1 (4-pound) sugar baby pumpkin, cut in half, seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup small-dice bacon (about 3 slices)
- ½ cup small-dice shallots (about 2 medium)
- ¼ cup dry (fino) sherry
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (gluten-free variety, if needed)
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Parsley Croutons, for garnish (gluten-free variety, if needed)
Heat oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Rub the cut halves of the pumpkin with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet cut-side up and roast until tender and golden brown, about 70 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet until cool enough to handle (20 minutes).
Scoop out the flesh with a large spoon, place it in a medium bowl (yield = 3 cups), and set it aside.
Place the bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat and cook until crispy and fat is rendered (10 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon to a small paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.
Add shallots to the bacon fat, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until softened (4 minutes). Add sherry and cook until reduced by half (2 minutes). Add the broth, water, thyme, and reserved pumpkin and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the flavors have melded, about 10 minutes.
Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam from the hot soup to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off). Place the blended soup in a clean saucepan. Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the reserved bacon and the croutons, if using. Serving yield – 6 to 8 servings.