I just want to mention, before I get to the soup, that I made those pumpkin blondies again this weekend for a bridal shower and they were (a) even better than I remembered and (b) quite popular. I'm also going to go ahead and be a bit of a critic and advise you to not, under any circumstances, make this dessert. I read the sketchy comments and defied the warnings, because it sounded so interesting. Please learn from my mistake. Interesting doesn't cut it when you are trying to impress 20 semi-strangers. Comments are meaningful. I should have listened. I should have known that, when a recipe is followed by a slew of comments dotted with words like "weird" and "disappointing", it is not worthy of experimentation. Particularly right before a party. Particularly when it involves several expensive ingredients. Seriously. Three-quarters of that cake went in the rubbish bin, people. Thank heavens I had pumpkin blondies and a fabulous pear cake (with chunks of bittersweet chocolate) to offer as well.
And now: soup. This soup is so great and easy and simultaneously refreshing and fallesque! It's adapted from a recipe for carrot soup that Charlotte made for me and my family a month or two ago. The carrot soup was great but I had winter squash to use up when I next craved the soup... and an even swap worked beautifully. It was in fact even a little creamier and smoother than the carrot version, likely because winter squash is so much softer than carrots.
This is a forgiving recipe, as soup recipes often are. Fresh lemon zest is about the only super important, inflexible component. I used jarred ginger when I made this, a random assortment of onion-types that were on my counter, and I added a little curry because I love curry. I suspect that sweet potatoes would work just as nicely in this soup as the carrots and winter squash did.
We enjoyed it with some homemade seedy soda bread and a sprinkling of red salt. It's really a nice soup and it makes a manageable amount - something I appreciate as fall approaches, my freezer continues to be full, and my daughter fails to appreciate the wonders of soup. My husband and I ate it for dinner, had seconds, and had one lunch portion left over.
Gingery Lemony Pumpkin Soup
Adapted from this carrot soup recipe
Yield: 4 servings
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped onion (any kind of onion)
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 pounds pumpkin or other winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2" pieces*
1 tablespoon tomato paste (or 1 or 2 fresh tomatoes)
1 teaspoon curry (optional; I used muchi curry, which is semi-sweet)
zest and juice of one lemon
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Melt butter or olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add winter squash, tomato paste (or tomatoes), curry (if using), and lemon peel; sauté 1 minute. Add 3 cups broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until squash is very tender and flavors marry, about 12-15 minutes. Puree soup with immersion blender or in batches using a regular blender. (If doing the latter, allow the soup to cool slightly and return to pot after blending.) Gently stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Add a bit of water or more broth if you want a thinner soup. Bring to a simmer again. Serve in big bowls and, if possible, devour slowly next to a warm fireplace while it is raining or snowing outside.
Can be made 1 or 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
*The first time I made this, I used the long, tubular part of a medium-sized butternut squash and that equaled about 1.5 lbs. The second time, I used a delicata squash (unpeeled) and an acorn squash (peeled). Both times, the soup was great.