Pumpkin Spice Soup
1 32 oz. carton of chicken broth, preferably low sodium
1 16 oz. can of pumpkin puree
3 cloves of garlic, skin peeled
1 whole shallot, chopped into large pieces
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 8 oz. container of plain yogurt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. finely grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Add garlic and shallot to a soup pot with olive oil and sweet on medium-high heat for five to ten minutes, until shallot becomes translucent. Add thyme and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. At this point, you can either remove the garlic and shallot and puree separately in a blender or food processor or use an immersion blender to blend them in the pot. (I did the former, then returned the puree to the pot.)
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Now add the can of pumpkin puree, stirring well to incorporate. Add the cayenne, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and pepper and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes. Add a few dahes of Worcestershire sauce. To finish, I smoothed the soup out with yogurt, not cream. Put the yogurt in a bowl and temper with a ladle-full of soup so that it doesn't break when you add it. Pour mixture in soup and stir well. I served mine by floating a pecan-crema crouton in the center (see below).
1 loaf of French bread, cut on a bias into one-inch pieces
2 TBS creme fraiche
2 TBS cream cheese
1/4 cup crushed pecans
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
2 TBS fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Place sliced bread on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and Kosher salt. Toast until brown and allow to cool. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and spread over croutons. Serve with soup.