Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pumpkin Soup

On October 16th, 2002, I was driving somewhere for lunch and was listening to my car radio. On WBUR, the "Here and Now" show was on, and Kathy Gunst was discussing "Pumpkin Soup with Fried Sage Leaves."

Now, I will be the first to admit that I'm not your typical pumpkin soup aficionado. In fact, the mental image that it conjures up is more akin to something so sickeningly sweet that I'd avoid it just on principle. However, it was on the radio, and I thought it might be something that my wife, Sandra, and the kids might like.

I was more than a bit surprised that the soup that was described was savory, rather than sweet. They said the recipe would be available on the program's web site, so later that evening I went out and found it.

Unfortunately, that recipe is no longer on the site—their archives only go back to 2003. I still have the PDF file that contained the recipe, though, and it mentions that the recipe comes from Kathy Gunst's book Relax, Company's Coming! (note: hyperlink most likely contains WBUR's reference referrer link).

However, it's still an interesting dish, and in a month or so, we will be getting into Pumpkin Season up here in New Hampsha. It totally changed my mind about pumpkin soups. Imagine that.

Kathy Gunst's Pumpkin Soup with Fried Sage Leaves

Source:WBURs Here and Now on Wednesday October 16th, 2002, from the Book "Relax, Company's Coming!"
Yield:Serves 12.
Find a small sugar pumpkin that will be easy to cut and get ready for one of the most soothing, comforting and satisfying soups imaginable. The pale orange color is spectacular, particularly when topped with green fried sage leaves. The soup can be made 24 hours ahead of time and it can also be frozen if you have a bumper crop of pumpkins. You can make the soup and serve as is or make it more complex by topping it with fried sage leaves, croutons, and a swirl of heavy cream or crème fraîche.


2 pound sugar pumpkin

3 leeks cut into 1-inch pieces, about 2 cups

1-tablespoon olive oil

1-teaspoon butter

1-tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

1-tablespoon fresh sage, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

Sage And Croutons

1 bunch fresh sage

About 2 to 3 cups olive oil or safflower oil

2 cups croutons


Using a large, sharp knife cut the pumpkin into chunks. Remove the seeds and stringy sections of the pumpkin and place in a bowl. (You can separate the seeds and roast them or discard.) Carefully cut the rind off the pumpkin and cut the flesh into 1 to 2 inch pieces. You should have about 8 cups.

In a large soup pot, heat the oil and butter over moderate heat. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes. Add salt, pepper, thyme and sage. Add the pumpkin, stir and cook for 1 minute. Cover and cook 5 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer about 25 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender. Remove and let cool slightly.

Working in a blender or food processor, blend the soup. Taste for seasoning and warm over low heat. Makes about 12 cups.

To fry the sage leaves: heat the oil in a medium, heavy skillet over high heat until the oil is just beginning to smoke. Carefully clip off small bundles of sage leaves (about 3 to 4 leaves per bunch) and very carefully drop into the hot oil. Let fry about 30 seconds, Drain well on paper towels. Add a bunch of sage to each soup bowl. Don't make the sage more than one hour ahead of time or it will wilt.

Bon Appetit!


Harmony said...

I think that you are missing a few e accent aigu [the accent that looks like it's going up a mountain] in the word creme and saute. I don't have the symbol in this text box, but I think you know what I mean.

lar3ry said...

Thanks, Harmony! Fixed. This recipe was from 1992, which was before I started saving them in a more standardized way, and I think the accented characters simply were "eaten" by what I was using as a text editor at the time. My "column on columns" explains the genesis of my recipe archive.

The fixed words were: crème fraîche and sauté.

In HTML, these are called "entities" which are representations of special characters. You use the & character to specify them, followed by letters and/or numbers, and a semi-colon (;). A list of common HTML entities can be found at this site.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. My family loves this soup and my copy of the recipe was getting a little weathered. So glad I was able to find it here!