Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

This year on Halloween, in my typical do-it-at-the-last-possible-moment approach, I set out to find a carving pumpkin in the afternoon only to find all of the local stores completely sold out. So, instead I bought some sort of heirloom fairy tale pumpkin from Whole Foods. It wasn’t even orange, but some terribly un-Halloween grey color. My attempts to carve it were laughable. The flesh was at least 3 inches thick. I did finally manage to carve something resembling a face, but it was so pathetic I ended up chucking the whole thing in the oven and baking it at 350 for a couple hours. (I think it’s almost impossible to overcook a pumpkin.) Obviously this pumpkin was meant for eating, not for entertaining trick-or-treaters.

What to do with 8 cups of cooked pumpkin? Make pumpkin soup, of course! While we already have several pumpkin soup recipes on the site, we were missing one with more of a Southwestern feel. I’m delighted with how this soup turned out. It’s smokey and spicy from the chipotle chiles, cumin and oregano. The soup is creamy enough just with the pumpkin purée and stock that it doesn’t needed added cream or milk, though some crema fresca or sour cream is a soothing addition as a garnish to balance the heat of the chipotles. The touch that will put a smile on your face as you eat the soup is the addition of toasted shelled pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas in Mexican cooking. Their crunchiness is a happy contrast to the smoothness of the soup.

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 2 to 2 1/2 quarts.

If canned chipotle in adobo is not available, you can use chipotle powder, start with one teaspoon and increase to taste. If chipotle powder is not available, use 1/2 teaspoon of regular chili powder, increasing to taste, and a dash of liquid smoke. Note that fresh pumpkins vary in their moisture content, so you may need to add more liquid, either water or stock, to get to the consistency you want, depending on how thick or thin you would like your soup to be.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers (canned in adobo, 1 for mild, 2 for spicy), chopped
  • 8 cups chopped, cooked pumpkin* (1 7-8 pound cooking pumpkin to yield 8 cups cooked pumpkin, or 3 15-ounce cans of canned pumpkin)
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken stock, depending on desired thickness and how thick your pumpkin purée is (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option, can sub water for some of the stock)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice

Garnishes:

  • Toasted, shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Cilantro
  • Creme fresca, creme fraiche or sour cream thinned with a little water so that it's runny

*To cook fresh pumpkin, use a good cooking pumpkin (i.e. sugar pumpkin, fairytale pumpkin, hubbard, or kabocha pumpkin), cut in half, scoop out the seeds, place the pumpkin cut side down on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for about an hour, or until soft. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh or cut away the skin. Let cool. Freeze for long term storage.

Method

1 Heat oil in a large pot (8-quart) on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, cumin, and chipotle, cook for 1 minute more.

2 Add the pumpkin, chicken stock, oregano, and salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered.

3 If you are working with raw pumpkin seeds, now would be a good time to toast them. (If your pumpkin seeds are already toasted, skip this step.) Just spread them out in an even layer in a frying pan on medium high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon while toasting, until the pumpkin seeds are fragrant and are lightly browned. Remove to a bowl.

4 Remove the soup from heat. Working in batches of 2 cups each, purée the soup in batches, holding down the lid the your blender tightly while puréeing, and starting on a slow speed. Return the puréed soup to the pot.

5 Add lime juice. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt, cumin, oregano, or chipotle to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more stock or water to desired consistency.

Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), crema fresca drizzled over the top, and chopped cilantro.

chipotle-pumpkin-soup-c.jpg

31 Comments

  1. Meister @ Eat This Neighborhood

    What a great recipe!

    I’m hosting a Friendsgiving this year, and would love to give some of my dishes a little flair to honor the indigenous peoples who predated (and saved the tuchuses of) the Pilgrims — a chipotle pumpkin soup is just the thing to start the meal off, I think — thank you!

  2. ~M

    I’ve read that most chipotles in adobo contain gluten…would this work with chipotle spice/powder? How much? Thanks!

    I say in the notes before the recipe to start with one teaspoon of chipotle powder and increase from there to the amount of heat desired. You may want to hold off until the last steps to add more than a teaspoon. ~Elise

  3. the blissful baker

    I did the exact same thing! I had a ridiculously hard time carving my pumpkin, so I just roasted it and made pumpkin soup. Yours looks delicious!

  4. laura @ a little barefoot

    That is too funny, I did the exact same thing with the fairytale pumpkin. Only I bought it because I thought it was pretty! But when I went to carve it it was SOO thick and I realized I should have just roasted it instead. Still, I persevered and we ended up making a jack-o-lantern out of it that looked (inadvertently) like Cartman from South Park.

    Too funny indeed! ~Elise

  5. E

    This soup was way too thick. I used canned pumpkin and I think you could really use half the canned pumpkin and get a better result.

    Good to know. I used fresh pumpkin for mine. You can of course, just add water to the soup to thin it. I have reduced the number of cans to 3 based on your feedback. ~Elise

  6. sfcrowe

    I made this soup for dinner. I had only one can of pumpkin so I decreased the recipe by a third. I ground up a couple of dried chipotles I had lurking in my spice cabinet and used 1/3 to 1/2 tsp in my now smaller recipe. It was definitely smoky and spicy. I think I was a little heavy handed with the spice, so I added a couple of Tbs of cream to tone it down a bit. I think I went to pumpkin heaven! Absolutely delish! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Cyndy

    Ha ha I also had to buya fairytale pumpkin. I ended up carving it and itcame out very nicely. I found that using a serated bread knofe or a serated letter opener worked the best at carving

  8. Meo

    This soup was great! I used a 6lb. Kabocha from whole foods, vegetarian vegetable stock, 1 chipotle pepper. My boyfriend is a very picky eater and is always reluctant to try new things- But he loved it! I did, too. Smooth, creamy, lots of flavor. I can’t wait to make it again. The only thing I was displeased about was the color- The pumpkin began bright orange, but once I started adding the other ingredients it turned sort of greenish/brown. Any tips to keep the vibrant color of the pumpkin? P.S. I garnished with a lime squeeze and tortilla strips- Really good.

    Good question. I used dried oregano, not the ground oregano, which kept some of the green from that still in flakes, even though it was puréed. You could try adding the oregano at the end, rather than early on in the recipe, which may keep it from transferring as much of its green color to the soup. Or you could add a dash of paprika for more red color. ~Elise

  9. Sarah

    I made this last night and it was absolutely delicious. I’m wondering, Elise, what your favorite vegetarian soup recipe is. I need to contribute one to dinner this Thanksgiving.

    Oh, I don’t know, there are so many good ones. I have an entire tag for vegetable soups. Not all of them are vegetarian though. ~Elise

  10. Clark

    I needed 6 cups, of chicken broth, not 4, to thin the soup (I used canned pumpkin; not fresh). I liked the way that the chipotle matured as the soup cooked, but the soup needs something more to make this recipe sing, and I don’t know yet what that might be.

  11. Wendyp

    Great recipe!!! I’m eating this soup as I type this – used a kabocha and turkey stock I made from our Canadian Thanksgiving bird. Needed 6 cups of stock as well; with 4 it was way too thick. Used my immersion blender which finished the puree far more easily than pulling out & washing my big blender. Tha kabocha stayed a lovely orange colour & the 2 chipotles gives a great heat. Having it with a slice of applewood smoked cheddar, but really wish I had some sour cream in the house.
    Thanks for lunch!!!

  12. wichitarick

    Hi. Sorry for being so late giving you the thank you it deserved.
    We have made all of the pumpkin recipes we found here so far. I doing a bit of whining about not having my usual fall produce ,because this is the first yr. in 17 yrs. I have not had a garden (waaa!) I have a new neighborhood and was complimenting a neighbor about her awesome Halloween set-up and made a joke about how many people use all those fancy gourds,squash,pumpkins etc. BUT have no idea how to eat them lol OOPS.
    She did not either lol I am now “blessed” with all types of pumpkins and squash yummm. and we are trying to preserve as much as possible for further recipes.
    I also live in a Hispanic area so all types of the peppers are a constant. I used veggie stock and cream and fresh smoked peppers for your recipe(idea) and several sugar type pumkins that I baked with the peppers ,then cooled and chopped them all together. mmm
    Thanks again I now use mild peppers and squash and I never did before. Rick Wichita Ks.

  13. Jane

    For a spicy soup it was soo blah and I even addded two peppers for spice. I had to add so much more to it to even get it to be somewhat flavorful. Thought it would be way more then it was…very disappointed.

  14. D

    Just made this and it was INCREDIBLE, SO EASY and QUICK to make! Insanely good. I didn’t have any kind of creme fresca or sour cream so I added a few crumbles of goat cheese instead and it was great!

  15. Katie

    Yummmm. I just made this for dinner and it was amazing! I thought it was plenty spicy with two peppers (my husband grew up in Arizona, loves spice, and he agreed).

  16. Sara F.

    Made this soup last night, with canned pumpkin and 4 c. stock, to be had for tonight’s dinner. It was very thick, but not thick enough to have to open a brand new carton, so thick it stayed. Adjusting seasonings while simmering on the stove top, and testing the spiciness level at 2 chipotles, pre-puree, I discovered the soup to be rather delicious. However, I was disappointed to find that when re-heated 24 hours later, it was overwhelmingly filled with the cumin. It seemed that cumin had even overpowered the chipotles! Does this take effect when re-heated the next day? It was so good while it was cooking…

    That’s weird! I ate this soup for leftovers for several days and didn’t notice any change in the intensity of the cumin taste. By the way, you can always thin the soup with a little water. You don’t need to add more stock. ~Elise

  17. Sara F.

    I know! I’m thinking it had something to do with the fact that the whole peppers were still in the pot while adjusting the seasonings, whereas they had been taken out before I pureed it, removing some of that delicious chipotle smokeyness, and allowing the cumin to overpower it all together…?

    Ah, I didn’t specify that you should chop up the chipotles (now fixed, thank you). You purée them with everything else. You don’t remove them from the soup. ~Elise

  18. coleen

    We have some leftover grilled pumpkin that I was debating on what to do….I think that these spices will work with the smokiness and char that the grill added….Thanks for the idea!

  19. Jake H

    I made this soup thinking it would be an interesting experiment, but it turned out to be so fantastic that I plan on making it regularly. This will definitely be found on my Thanksgiving dinner table!

  20. Virginia

    Yum! Just made this. I only had two cans of pumpkin so I boiled and pureed some sweet potatoes to make up the difference. Then I threw a can of black beans (it’s kind of a hybrid between your recipe and Smitten Kitchen Deb’s pumpkin soup) in the blender with it all for some extra rib-stickin’. Looks like gross baby food, but tastes great!

  21. Elaine A.

    We didn’t have any cumin so we substituted it with curry powder. Outstanding flavor! We added a salad and fresh sourdough croutons, making it a complete and deliciously-satisfying meal.

  22. Michele

    Another winning recipe Elise! We had a 5lb pumpkin pie pumpkin on hand and so I used that with 3 cups of homemade chicken broth. I didn’t bother measuring it out as with soups it’s easy enough to to adjust seasonings and liquids as you go. Plus I was feeling lazy. I really liked the thickness!

    I used two chipotle chilis in adobo with some extra adobo sauce thrown in. A little too much for my 4yo but perfect for DH and I. Next time I’ll puree only a little in for his section and spice up the rest for us!

    Just finished a big bowl of leftovers – four days later – and it was still delicious!

  23. Mindy

    Can this be made ahead and frozen? I’d like to serve it Thanksgiving week.

    Great question. I don’t know. I assume so, but I haven’t actually tried freezing it. ~Elise

  24. CareBearNJ

    This was so freakin good! I roasted a 4 lb pumpkin and used about 2 cups veggie stock (though I added another 1/2 cup water during puree time). This is just another reason I love my immersion blender!!!!

  25. Zahour

    WOW! This soup is AMAZING. I love making pumpkin soups so when I bought the fairytale pumpkin I searched for a new soup recipe to try with it. This is my favorite recipe of all the ones I’ve made over the years. Absolutely delicious and the whole family loved it. My pumpkin was so enormous that I will be able to make this 2 or 3 more times this fall! Exciting. :)

  26. Tonya Kubo

    So yummy! The recipe reminds me of a favorite at my house for pumpkin-chicken enchiladas so I made this soup according to the recipe and added diced cooked chicken breast and a dash of cinnamon after pureeing the soup — so tasty!!!

  27. anna

    I made this soup this week and it was Fabulous!! I used canned pumkin and 6 cups of broth and it was the perfect consistency. I added a little to much adobe peppers so it was to spicy for my kids but, I loved it!! Can I link your recipe to my blog? and give you full credit of course?!!
    Thanks
    Anna

    Sure! ~Elise

  28. Caroline

    At first I thought this was a little bland, but it grew on me. I saved my leftovers and used it as a sauce with pork chops. Delicious!

  29. L.D. Meyer

    Stand back girls, there’s a guy in the kitchen and he’s armed with what else…….yup tools! I’ll buy a pie pumpkin around 5-7 lbs with the stem still attached to use for a handle. I take a small woodworking tool called a “block plane” and set the blade to the most shallow depth and I can peel that lil orange gourd in about 2 minutes, this sounds silly but it works and probably the safest way to peel this lil rascal without getting cut. In the long run this saves time, because when you roast the pumpkin you have to warm the oven (wasting energy) then when it’s done you have to let it cool(pumpkins take for ever to cool) before you can handle it. Then go ahead and half it and gut it(save n’ roast the seeds), take the peels and toss ‘em in the yard or the compost pile. I make my Pumpkin Soup in my trusty Ol’ crockpot, and if it comes out too spicy try adding a tsp of peanut butter to tone down the heat, I do this with my 3 bean ground turkey chili. Bon Appetite Adios n’ Hasta La Bye Bye! L.D.

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