If I am to be honest here I must admit something. I don’t really like pumpkin pie. Never really have. Oh, I eat it when it has been lovingly prepared for a holiday feast because I do appreciate the tradition itself and while I don’t really like pumpkin pie, I don’t really hate it either. It just is. When my very first subscription issue of Gourmet Magazine arrived in 1990 it featured this pumpkin bourbon sour cream cheesecake on the cover. The cover photo had it all wrapped in ivy for the presentation and it just looked amazing. I was so desperate for a change of pace at our holiday table I begged my mom to let me make it. She said I could but she went ahead and made her pumpkin pie as well. I garnished the presentation with ivy, just like the cover, and I received so much attention for it that I’m sure it spurred me on improve my skills and cook other fantastic things. We ate Mom’s pie with the other leftovers. I don’t make the cheesecake anymore as my brother enjoys making it. I prefer pumpkin in its more savory forms anyway.
So while the rest of you are feeling fall and getting giddy about the great pumpkin pie you will be eating, I will be pulling out my favorite savory pumpkin recipes. And if you are distressed by recent national news reports about a canned pumpkin shortage. Don’t be. You shouldn’t be using it anyway as roasting your own pumpkin could not be easier. And now that I think about it, I’m sure my indifference to pumpkin pie has a lot to do with canned pumpkin. (And worse, canned pumpkin pie filling! Ack.)
Just go to the store, get a Sugar Pumpkin (or “cooking pumpkin” as my local chain grocer has them labeled), cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Set the halves in a roasting pan with 1/2 inch of water in the pan.
Let cool until you can handle it easily and then scoop it out with a spoon and use right away or put it into an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to use. It will keep this way several days I have found.
So what was this pumpkin used for? Soup.
To be more specific, Tuscan Pumpkin and White Bean Soup. This soup is so easy and quick that it has become a staple this time of year. And what can be better than having home made soup ready to go in frozen containers at a moments notice? Pumpkin soup made with canned pumpkins is like using canned carrots for carrot soup, or canned asparagus with your cream of asparagus soup. At least that is my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
3-1/2 cups of organic chicken broth (use low salt so you can control to your taste)
1/4 tsp oregano (or more to taste)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Heat oil in a large soup pot set over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
- Stir in pumpkin, broth, beans and oregano; simmer 8 minutes.
- In a blender (or using an immersion blender), process in batches until smooth or use an immersion blender. I like to keep it a bit chunky when I make this one but fully pureed it has a nice creamy texture due to the white beans.
- Season with salt and pepper carefully as flavors will get more intense as the soup ‘settles’.
As with many soups, this is the usually better the next day. Garnish with the grated parmesan or save for a soup day!