One Thanksgiving, my mom served us pumpkin soup in bowls fashioned from hollowed-out tiny pumpkins. It was quite impressive to see, though I found it a bit cumbersome to scoop all of the soup from the tiny gourd.
That said, I loved the soup itself. It was warm and savory, and its lovely orange hue matched the trees outside. Also, its thick and creamy texture was a fine way to introduce the rest of the meal. I welcomed this new addition to the family’s holiday repertoire.
Strangely enough, we never had pumpkin soup again. But I was thinking about it recently when I found in the back of my pantry a can of pumpkin puree.
Now, many things can be created with this mashed canned squash. For instance, you can prepare desserts, cornbread, and even grits. Likewise, any recipe calling for cooked sweet potato can be prepared with mashed pumpkin, too, which offers even more options.
Indeed, many years ago, I posted a sweet potato soup recipe. I paired it with smoky chipotle chiles, as the pepper’s fire and heat are a fine contrast to the sweet nature of this orange tuber.
After I published the post, a reader told me that she had been unable to find any smoked jalapeño chiles so she used a poblano chile instead. She said the soup was excellent, but at the time, I had my doubts. A green chile pepper with an orange, autumnal vegetable? That didn’t sound like it would work at all.
Though I recently saw more examples of poblano chiles combined with sweet potatoes and pumpkins, such as in enchiladas and stews. Curious if this was indeed something to pursue, I took my can of pumpkin puree and the poblanos I had in my refrigerator and made this soup.
After roasting the poblano chile with some aromatics, I blended the vegetables with the pumpkin puree, broth, and spices. Pouring this back into a pan I let the soup simmer for a half hour so the flavors could come together.
It didn’t take long and I finished this Southwestern-style bowl topped with sour cream, fried tortillas, and poblano strips.
Poblano pumpkin soup
For the soup:
- 1 poblano chile
- 1 jalapeño chile
- 1 tablespoon safflower oil
- ½ medium yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 can pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried sage
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- Fried corn tortilla strips, for serving
For the poblano crema:
- 2 tablespoons roasted poblano chile
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
- Pinch ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Roast the poblano and jalapeño chiles under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tight, and let the chiles steam for 20 minutes. After the chiles have steamed, remove them from the bag and rub off the skin. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles.
- Cut ¼ of the poblano off from the pepper (about 2 tablespoons) and reserve it for the crema. Place the remainder of the poblano and the entire jalapeño in a blender jar. (To cut the poblano, I cut it in half, then cut one of the halves in another half.)
- Meanwhile, heat the oil on medium-low heat in a medium pot. Add the onion and while occasionally stirring, cook until softened about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Turn off the heat.
- Transfer the onion mixture to the blender. Pour the 2 cups of the broth into the pot and swirl it around to get any remaining bits. Pour the broth into the blender.
- Add to the blender the pumpkin puree, cumin, thyme, sage, allspice, and salt. Blend everything until smooth.
- Pour the pumpkin mix back into the pot and add the remaining cup of broth. Turn the heat to high (it may splatter, so be ready!) and when it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low and let the soup simmer uncovered, while stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
- After the soup has simmered, stir in the lime juice then taste and adjust seasonings.
- As the soup simmers, rinse out the blender. To make the poblano crema, add the remaining ¼ poblano chile, sour cream, buttermilk, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, and salt. Blend until smooth then taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve the soup warm topped with fried corn tortilla strips and drizzles of the poblano crema.