My Mother-in-Law’s delicious pumpkin curry soup – perfect start to Thanksgiving dinner

by Andrea Potischman on November 16, 2017

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This is my mother-in-law’s pumpkin curry soup, and it is fantastic. The first time I has this was at Thanksgiving dinner when my husband and I were merely dating. I loved it from the first sip.

It is a simple blended soup, but the sweet curried onions elevate this soup to a whole new level. I asked for the recipe shortly after that Thanksgiving. Over the years, I have made it many times: for my family, friends and for holidays, where it’s a great crowd-pleaser.

There are lots of onions in this world. My mother-in-law’s original recipe calls for Vidalia or another type of “sweet onion”. The truth is, most onions can work in this recipe, depending on your preferences. I used yellow onions, which are considered “all-purpose” onions. Chefs consider them a safe bet, and I tend to keep a supply in my house at all times. Yellow onions are known for their tangy sweetness and are therefore extremely versatile. I think they work well here. For more information and specifics on the many different type of onions out there, check out this link.

Slowly cooking the onions with the curry powder is the most important part in this simple recipe. Cooking the onions or “sweating the onions” as it’s known, means cooking the onions till they are translucent, without browning them. Curry powder has a unique flavor profile and is often paired with both savory and sweet spices.

Within a curry powder, you will often find savory spices like cumin, turmeric, and bay leaf give the curry a deep, earthy flavor as well as a mixture of sweet spices, like cinnamon and clove. Cooking the curry powder slightly with the onions is also important: you want to cook or “blend” the curry flavor into the onions, so as not to leave the soup with a raw or biting spice flavor.

This pumpkin curry soup is made with heavy cream: there is no sugar-coating it, it’s what makes the soup rich and delicious. That said, you could substitute half-n-half for the heavy cream, or use a mixture of half-n-half and heavy cream. But keep in mind, this is not a soup for which you will be eating large bowls; this is a fairly decadent soup, and a cup may be the perfect portion.

Part of what makes this soup so irresistible is it’s richness; and while I personally shy away from cooking with a lot of heavy cream, despite what I learned in culinary school, sometimes there is just no substitute. I have played around with the recipe over the years to make it a bit more healthful, but nothing beats the original recipe.

While this soup is a pureed soup, what I love about it is you still have small pieces of curried onions within the soup which adds nicely to the texture. So, that said, when you puree it, don’t panic, it should not be perfectly smooth. With Thanksgiving approaching, consider this lovely, easy soup to start your holiday meal off with friends and family and be sure to let me know your thoughts about it if you do.

INGREDIENTS

2 medium sweet onions,peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish
fresh thyme, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: In a medium size stock pot, add the butter and heat over medium heat. When melted, add the sliced onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Step 2: Add the curry and sauté about 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.
Step 3: When the onions have cooled a bit, place in the bowl of a kitchen mixer such as a Cusinart fitted with a metal blade. Add the canned pumpkin and salt, and puree for about 30 seconds.
Step 4: With the mixer running, slowly add the cream. Mix only until incorporated. Note, the soup with have small bits of onion pieces still in, that’s correct, you want it like this.
Step 5: Pour the onion-pumpkin mixture back into the stock pot. Using a whisk, add the stock and mix well.
Step 6: Place the soup back on a low flame and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Add additional stock if needed.
Step 7: To serve, ladle into serving cups (or bowls) and garnish with pepitas and fresh thyme.

Former chef and now Menlo Park stay-at-home mom, Andrea Potischman blogs at Simmer and Sauce; photos and text used with permission

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