Fall in New England: Changing leaves & creamy pumpkin soup from scratch
It is fall in New England. This means many changes, from the plentiful pumpkin patches, to the generous apple trees. Halloween and Thanksgiving are fast approaching. The scent of one of my many pumpkin dishes (this time a creamy pumpkin soup from scratch) lingers in the stairwell. The deciduous leaves are dying and going out with a bang like they always do; from green to yellow to orange and finally red. Growing up, Ryan always commented how odd it was that death could be so beautiful, how people come from miles around just to see the dying leaves of New England. It is beautiful. The warm winds of summer are gone, and the annual gale of autumn has finally come to greet us. It robs the trees of their vibrant foliage, delicately plucking away the leaves one by one, and then directing them around our driveway in a series of beautiful pirouettes and jetés. The kids like to try to chase them, always trying to catch the leaves that are just out of their reach. With a cold and graceful playfulness comes the north wind. I love the changing seasons, but for me, it’s not about the leaves. It’s the comfort of food, scented kitchens, and gathering together. Apple picking, corn mazes, and admiring the pumpkins with the curly, wispy stems. Cozying up under the blankets with a babe or two, sharing a mug of hot cider. In fact, as I write this, I have a creamy pumpkin soup simmering on the stove downstairs and my ten-day-old newborn cuddling on my chest. In New England fall is the season of harvest, gathering and comfort.
The best fall soups are fast and simple.
Like this soup recipe, I also titled my last soup post the “best simple fall soups”. This is for a couple different reasons. As a cook, I’ve always believed that some of the best foods are the most simple foods, and made with the best ingredients. You can easily make a wonderfully delicious soup from scratch with only 4-5 ingredients. I try to cook by keeping things simple, quality, seasonal and (when I can) local. Of course, you can make a wonderful soup with 15 ingredients or fancy techniques, too, but it’s not always necessary. The other reason is this: At this season in my life- homeschooling three children and caring for a newborn- I’m also finding that to me “best simple fall soups” or really any “best” recipe is something that is quick and simple to put together. Bonus points if it doesn’t require a lot of cleanup time or costly ingredients, too. I suppose one of the things I’m finding I have a bit less of now is time. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, or someone cooking for a large family then you can probably relate. Simple, fast, healthy and delicious? Yes, please.
How to make creamy pumpkin soup from scratch
I didn’t actually roast my first pumpkin until last fall, though after realizing how simple it was I was completely hooked on the idea and went out and bought at least half a dozen. Now when I grocery shop in the fall I always buy a few- they look festive in the house and its nice to be able to always have freshly roasted pumpkin in the fall. I know that not everyone can get fresh pumpkins to roast at home. Roasting a pumpkin is incredibly simple, delicious and makes your home smell like a yummy fall side dish. To make pumpkin soup from scratch, you need only roast a pumpkin, scoop out the insides, and then blend it with a few other simple ingredients in a blender. I like to use onion, carrot, vegetable stock, and a bit of heavy cream. Served with a baguette, or even just buttered toast this soup is absolutely delicious!
Step One Start by roasting a pumpkin. Preheat your oven to 400˚F.
Step Two Slice your pumpkin in half the long way. Place each half inside a roasting pan and oil the inside and outside (No need to remove the seeds or insides of the pumpkin. We will do this after it has roasted.) Sprinkle the inside with a bit of salt. Once the pumpkin is oiled and salted, make sure each half is facing down (so you can’t see the seeds/inside) in the roasting pan and place in the oven. Set a timer for 1 hour.
Step Three After one hour you should be able to stick a fork through your pumpkin with ease. There will most likely be liquid at the bottom of your roasting pan from the pumpkin- that’s fine! Allow the pumpkin to cool off for 15-20 minutes before removing it from the roasting pan. If the pumpkin hasn’t cooked all the way through, you can put it back in for another 10 minutes, and then check it again.
Step Four Once the pumpkin has cooled completely, scoop the seeds out of it and throw away/compost. Then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin- it should be soft and fairly easy to scoop out. Set it aside in a bowl, or if you’re not making the soup for a several hours, in an airtight container and then store it in the refrigerator.
Step Five When you’re ready to start the soup, roughly chop one onion and two carrots.
Step Six In a large pot, add a couple lugs of olive oil and set to medium-low heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Stir every couple minutes so the onions do not burn.
Step Seven Next you’ll add the chopped carrots. Allow the onion and carrot to saute another 7-8 minutes, stirring every so often to cook everything evenly.
Step Eight Once the vegetables have softened slightly, it’s time to blend everything together. For this you can use a blender, or a stick blender. If you’re using a blender, turn off the stove for a minute. Pour the stock, pumpkin puree, and sauteed blend of onion and carrot into the blender. Turn on high until everything is smoothly pureed together. Pour back into the pot, and turn back onto low heat. If you’re using a stick blender, simply add the stock and pumpkin into the pot and puree everything together with your stick blender until smooth.
Step Nine Add the heavy cream to the soup, the nutmeg and herbs (if using), and the salt (feel free to add more or start with less depending on your preference. Also, if your stock is store-bought keep in mind it may already have salt in it.)
Step Ten Allow the soup to simmer on low for 10 minutes or so. Feel free to add herbs, such as a small amount of finely chopped sage, rosemary or thyme. I also think freshly ground nutmeg, or a small splash of apple cider works well in this soup! Serve hot, and store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Creamy Pumpkin Soup from Scratch
- 1-2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Large Onion, Chopped
- 3 Medium Carrots, Diced
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1 Liter Vegetable Stock (About 4 Cups)
- 1 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Chopped Thyme (optional)
- Set a large pot on the stove to medium heat and add the olive oil and chopped onions. Saute the onions until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the diced carrots, and saute another 8-10 minutes, stirring every couple minutes so nothing burns.
- Add the vegetable stock, and allow everything to simmer for 12-15 minutes.
- If you're using a blender, turn the heat off of the stove. Pour the stock, carrots and onion mixture into the blender. Add the pumpkin and blend on high until everything is thoroughly pureed. Pour the mixture back into the pot and turn it back onto a low simmer.
- If you're using a stick blender, add the pumpkin directly to the pot, and blend until everything is thoroughly pureed and smooth.
- Add the heavy cream, salt and (if using) the nutmeg and thyme.
- Allow the soup to simmer for another 5-10 minutes, and then serve hot- ideally with a crusty loaf of bread.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
A little bit about me…
Hi! I’m Amber Rogals, a food photographer and recipe developer in New England.
I work as a food photographer, stylist and recipe developer throughout the New England area, capturing various food stories, products and recipes. I also write regularly on my food blog, Downeats. I love to inspire others to cook and enjoy delicious, healthy meals with their loved ones. I grew up and still live in Maine with my (gorgeous, wonderful, hardworking) high school sweetheart and our (hilarious, talented and beautiful) children. I believe in living slow and enjoying life and I love to capture shared moments. You can read more about me here. If you are looking for a food photographer or recipe developer please contact me here.