I made this soup for Thanksgiving this year, and it turned out really tasty, as well as being super-fun to serve :)
Elegant Pumpkin Soup Served in a Pumpkin Shell
1 large fresh pumpkin (about 12 inches in diameter) for serving the soup in.
2 1/2 cups fresh, cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin
2 cups chicken broth + 1 cup milk (or 3 cups broth total for dairy-free)
4 tbsp. butter (or olive oil for dairy-free)
2 T. flour (rice flour for gluten-free)
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1/2 tsp fresh marjoram, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
(a touch of honey or stevia to taste if it seems too bitter at the end)
Cut the top (one third) of your pumpkin to create a lid for your pumpkin serving bowl. Scoop out the seeds and strings, cleaning the inside well of any debris. Clean the seeds and place them on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the seeds with a little salt. Roast in a 250°F oven until lightly golden brown. Set them aside to be used as a garnish. Heat the pumpkin shell and lid in a 250ºF oven while making the soup.
In a large soup pot, melt 2 T. of butter over a medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery and garlic, about 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin and 2 cups of chicken broth. Add the thyme sprig and other spices. Mix well. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate sauce pan, melt the remaining 2 T. of butter over medium heat. Whisk in 2 T. flour and cook for several minutes, whisking constantly, until it starts to smell savory. Whisk in the milk (or the remaining cup of broth) a little at a time. Blend well. Cook for several minutes, until it starts to bubble and thicken, whisking periodically to keep it from sticking to the bottom. Remove from heat.
Remove thyme sprig from pumpkin mixture. Remove the mixture from the heat and puree in a blender. (Be careful to puree small amounts of the hot mixture with the blender top on to avoid having the mixture burst out of the blender.) Return the mixture to the pot.
Whisk the flour, butter, and milk/broth mixture into the pumpkin puree. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Pour soup into your hollowed-out pumpkin serving bowl. Serve the toasted pumpkin seeds on the side for garnish and plenty of fresh cracker pepper.