Makes 6 to 8 servings
This is one of my family’s favorite soups and it’s a must on our Thanksgiving table. For festive occasions I serve it in a hollowed out pumpkin shell. Served with a dollop of sour cream and Garlic_Toast_Snippets or Zucchini Cornbread, it makes a perfect beginning to America’s annual stuff and grunt. Incidentally, canned pumpkin is one of the few processed foods that has no additives.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups of chicken stock (3, 14.5-ounce cans of commrcial) - (vegetarians and vegans use Court Bouillon)
1 teaspoon mixed dry herbs, (Italian seasoning)
About 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dry dill weed
1, 15-ounce can of purred pumpkin – (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup cream - (vegans may substitute soy or rice milk)
1/2 cup inexpensive cream Sherry
Salt and fresh coarse ground black pepper to taste
About 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill weed
Sour cream – (optional)
Heat the olive oil in heavy sauce pan and gently sauté the onion and garlic until soft, pinkish and translucent but not yet beginning to brown. Add one cup of the stock or bouillon and continue cooking for another minute or so. When the onion is quite soft, use an immersible blender and puree. Add the remaining stock, mixed herbs, nutmeg and dill weed, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about five minutes. Add the pumpkin and cream, mix well and continue simmering until hot through. Add the Sherry and salt and pepper and continue to simmer to heat thoroughly. Add the fresh dill weed and garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream.
To serve in a pumpkin shell:
Hollow out your pumpkin shell as you would for making a Jack-o-lantern. Using a large table spoon scrape the inside of the pumpkin until thoroughly cleaned. Set the shell in the sink and fill with hot water. Do this several times, until the pumpkin is heated through. If you don’t do this, the cold pumpkin will suck the heat out of your soup and it will be luke-warm.
Since the bottom of your pumpkin will most likely not be perfectly flat, there is a chance that it might teeter a bit and spill the soup. I take a tea towel, roll it on the diagonal and twist it into a ring or donut. Place this on a serving tray and set the pumpkin on it. This makes a stable seat for the pumpkin and it is less likely that it will tip over. I usually disguise the tea towel base with ivy or autumn leaves.