Mary Anne here. I love Halloween. I know it’s not the most health-conscious holiday given the buckets full of sugar we consume, but I adore it and all of its inherent gluttony. It’s simply a great excuse to dress up as your alter ego, rap on neighbors’ doors uninvited and then unabashedly beg for treats. I remember dumping my pillow case – stuffed with pounds of sweet loot – onto the living room floor and then stacking the candy bars into orderly piles of favorites; banishing less popular goodies to the family’s communal candy bowl.
Halloween night also brings a sense of danger – the air is thick with menacing possibilities, like toilet-papered trees and an egg in the face. The fallen, dry leaves enhance the tension as they crackle under the feet of scurrying, masked bandits. And yet all the while there is the warmth and safety of one’s parent within arm’s distance. Yup, just love the whole package and I miss the festive, carefree holiday now that my own children are grown. So, with these memories in mind, I decided to concoct my own grown-up treat to celebrate Halloween.
This pumpkin soup is laced with curry and Granny Smith apples, and then sweetened with a dose of pumpkin pie spices creating a rich and palate-pleasing marriage of flavors. I added peanut butter, which enhances the creamy texture of the pureed veggies, and then dusted the finished product with dark brown sugar just before serving. Soup is a comforting starter course, or in this case the main event, warming the atmosphere on raw and windy autumn evenings. It’s a perfect dish to savor after trick-or-treating with your own little imps! Serve with Parmesan toasts and perhaps a peppery watercress and arugula salad.
Have a happy, safe and sugar-filled Halloween!
Curried Pumpkin Pie Soup
Note: You can prepare the soup up to three days before. FYI: I’m not promoting “Libby’s” canned pumpkin over using a fresh sugar pumpkin, but the canned version is 100% pumpkin – no preservatives – no chemicals. So, if you can’t find a sugar pumpkin, which are the best for roasting and baking, the canned product is a safe, inexpensive alternative.
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter — stock
1 large yellow onion — $1.51
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced thinly — $1.91
4 carrots, peeled and sliced — $0.59
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced — $1.51
4 cups pureed canned pumpkin or 6 cups fresh pumpkin peeled, seeded and cubed (I used canned as it saved time and did not have chemicals or preservatives as noted above.) — $2.79
1 Tablespoon curry powder — stock
½ teaspoon cinnamon – stock
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon each ground cloves and ground allspice — stock
1 cup dry white wine — stock
6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarians) – stock
¾ cup creamy peanut butter (optional) — stock
Water for consistency
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $8.31
Total Per Entrée Serving: $1.04
1. In a large stockpot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sliced apples and sprinkle with the spices, stirring well to blend. Sauté until the onion and apple is soft, about 15 minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth, carrots, sweet potatoes, and wine. If using cubed, fresh pumpkin, add to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low flame. Simmer gently, partially covered for 25 minutes until all of the vegetables are tender.
3. Stir in the canned pumpkin (if not using fresh) along with the peanut butter and simmer an additional 20 minutes.
4. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the soup to rest for about 10 minutes. Transfer in batches (about 4) to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree until smooth. Add water or chicken broth to thin to desired consistency. Note: I like this thick and do not add cream, but do add perhaps ¼ cup of stock at the end.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until just before serving.
5. To serve, return the soup to a stockpot and gently reheat. Correct seasonings. Garnish with a sprinkling of dark brown sugar.