Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika

Have you ever tried cooking with smoked paprika? A few months ago I posted a recipe for roasted chicken with smoked paprika in which I told how I first encountered smoked paprika in a kumara soup in New Zealand. Like chipotle, smoked paprika can add a wonderful smokey dimension to food. It’s perfect with this rich and creamy pumpkin soup. McCormick is finally putting some marketing effort behind promoting this wonderful spice, so you should be able to find it easily in your local supermarket.

Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8.

Ingredients

  • 1 4-5 pound cooking pumpkin* to yield 6 cups roasted pumpkin OR 3 (15 ounce) cans of pumpkin puree
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped, about 2 cups
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 large tart green apple (Granny Smith) peeled, cored, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option, and gluten-free broth for gluten-free version)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh sage or 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

* Most pumpkins in the store are meant for jack-o-lanterns, not eating. Use a sugar pumpkin or a Japanese Kabocha pumpkin if you are going to cook with it.

Method

pumpkin-paprika-soup-1.jpg pumpkin-paprika-soup-2.jpg
Kabocha pumpkins. If you use a Kabocha, note they are pretty hard, use a strong, sturdy knife and be careful when you cut the pumpkin.

1 To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar or Kabocha pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds* and stringy stuff (an ice cream scoop works well for this purpose), lie face down on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don't use for future use.

* Don't throw away the seeds! Use them to make toasted pumpkin seeds.

pumpkin-paprika-soup-3.jpg pumpkin-paprika-soup-4.jpg

2 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add smoked paprika, cayenne, and cumin and stir for a minute more.

3 Add chopped apple and pumpkin purée. Add broth, water. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the apples are cooked through.

4 Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender or a food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. If you want extra smooth soup, pass the purée through a food mill, after it's been through the blender. Return the soup to the saucepan.

5 With soup on low heat, slowly add the milk and cream, stirring to incorporate. Add salt to taste. Adjust other seasonings to taste.

Can make a day ahead.

29 Comments

  1. lydia

    I’m glad smoked paprika will be easier to find in the supermarket; it’s always available at Penzeys online, too, for those who don’t live near a Latino market. Be sure to read the jar before you buy, as there are three versions of smoked paprika (pimenton) on the market: sweet, which is what most of us will use; bittersweet; and hot — which is really hot!

  2. Rachelle

    Lydia,

    I have never seen all three varieties of ‘smoked’ paprika. Usually only the non-smoked comes in different varieties.

  3. jennbec

    Oh, thank you, Elsie! I just got a kabocha pumpkin at the farmers market this weekend and was wondering what to do with it. This recipe is perfect! Although I have to say, they’re such interesting pumpkins, it’s tempting to just display them. Maybe I’ll sit them on the table for a week as a centerpiece and then have them for lunch next week. :)

  4. chigiy

    This is good information about cooking with pumpkins. I always use the regular jack-o-lantern pumkins. I will have to use the other kind.
    I want to try the smoked paprika too.
    Thanks.

  5. Elise

    Hi Chigiy – We always used to cook up the jack-o-lantern pieces that were carved out. But those pumpkins are raised for their shape and the toughness of their flesh, not for their food quality. The best pumpkins for eating are sugar pumpkins, kabocha, and butternut squash. I think I remember reading that all the canned pumpkin we buy is actually made from butternut squash!

  6. Brad

    Does roasting the pumpkin add any flavor, or is it purely to get the pumpkin to mashing consistency? Could I microwave the pumpkin chunks instead? This is what I do for my sweet potato pies (mmmm…. it’s almost time for those). It’s just that it’s still air conditioner weather down here in Mississippi, and I jump on any chance to avoid running the oven at 350 for an hour. :)

    I’ve always wanted to try my hand at pumpkin soup, but never been adventurous enough to do it. I’ll have to give this a go. Thanks!

  7. Elise

    Hi Brad – roasting the pumpkin halves does add flavor, but it isn’t necessary. You could cook them in the microwave if you are trying to avoid heating up your kitchen.

  8. paula

    Coincidentally I just bought a bottle of smoked paprika on Thursday night. It was over $5 so I’m hoping to find a few more good uses for it besides the recipe I bought it for.

  9. Garrett

    As someone who tried this soup of hers first hand, let me say that it is amazing. I was literally scraping the bowl for any little remnants of soup. Fantastic!!!

    Note from Elise: Garrett, we love hearing praise like that, you’ll have to come over for lunch more often!

  10. Robin

    I can not wait to make this. I made your Spicy Pumpkin soup last autumn and everyone raved about it. This one sounds just as good.

  11. Mansi

    Gosh, perfect for the halloween season!! where do you get all these recipes from, I wonder!! truly amazing!!:) I’m a huge fan!!

  12. meeso

    What a great soup! I have never cut up a pumpkin to cook with but I might try for this soup. It just sounds too interesting and tasty not to try!

  13. Cedar

    That looks amazing, how perfect for Fall, I have been craving pumpkin lately…what a perfect way to enjoy it!

  14. Zylo

    Hallelujah! I bought a tin of smoked paprika a few months back that smells heavenly, but I can’t find any recipes that showcase it. This looks delicious, and now I have an excuse to make it.

  15. Sonia

    I make something similar to this recipe using roasted butternut squash…the paprika I use is Pimenton de la Vera from Spain…Wonderful flavor!

  16. Tessie

    My father made a very similar soup out of the aformentioned Kabocha squash two years ago for Christmas dinner. It was the most amazing soup I’ve had in my life. He has a very amusing story about tracking down the exact squash for the recipe he found in Gormet magazine. After spending a week searching every grocery store in the area he finally found them in a pile marked “decorative squash”. I will definately cook this up as soon as I track down the smoked paprika. Unlike my father, I know the best place to find Kabocha squash is in an Asian grocery store. Try it soon! You’ll be amazed.

  17. Wanda

    I had never heard of smoked paprika. So I set off to find some. Well it wasn’t available at the supermarket where I usually shop.

    However I finally tracked some down at a specialty market and gave your recipe a try.
    Absolutely delicious.

  18. Mark

    I have got a huge tin of smoked paprika that my parents brought back from Spain this year and have been looking for interesting recipes to use it up in. This sounds like the perfect evening recipe, so comforting and warm! mmm! In England pumpkin is something that we don’t see too much of, and it is usually only one or two varieties. It is sadly the same with the squashes too. Could you use a ‘standard’ pumpkin or should I try and hunt down a sugar or kaboucha variety?

  19. Elise

    Hi Mark – standard pumpkins are better for jack-o-lanterns than they are for eating. Try this with a sugar pumpkin, a kabocha, or a butternut squash.

  20. Wes

    Yay! Now that I’ve invested in some smoked paprika for this delicious recipe, I’m now ready to give that roasted chicken recipe a try!

  21. FoodJunkie

    Hello,
    I made this yesterday as a first course and it turned out beautifully. I brought some pimenton (smoked paprika) from Spain and hadn’t used it, but it really goes very well with the pumpkin.

    Thank you for a very beautiful site.

  22. Emma

    Hi Elise,
    I’ve never been a big fan of the gourd family but this recipe is spectacular! I made the soup for the first time a couple weeks ago and it was such a treat to bring for lunch at work. I really suggest roasting the pumpkin yourself–there’s nothing like the satisfaction of using only the freshest vegetables to prepare a meal. I didn’t add the cream as I found it already rich and smooth. I’m just finishing a three day “cleanse” and I’ve decided to ease my way back into eating by making a second batch of this soup (at my roommates request).
    Thank you so much!

  23. Susan C

    Hi, Elise: Thanks for the great recipe. I made it yesterday. Modified it slightly — used two apples, 4 onions, slightly less paprika, and added a bit more herbs, plus a splash of Salata dressing for a bit of zing, and a bit of sugar to even things out. Also, in place of stock, water, milk and cream, I substituted whey left over from a home-made cheesemaking session, and that added a lovely tang. I used 7 cups of whey, plus some instant veggie broth powder (the good stuff, not the salty Knorr kind), and it was fabulous. Also, I didn’t have to worry about the soup separating. Delicious! Thanks again.

  24. Therese

    I had high hopes fot this recipe and was disappointed. I’m so glad I didn’t invite our vegetarian friends to join us. The soup had a lovely, creamy mouth-feel, but the smoked paprika was overpowering and gave the soup a very off flavor. I’ll try it again though with a few modifications, and without the smoked paprika.

  25. PB

    Is pumkin soup served hot or cold? What’s typical?

    I would serve it hot. ~Elise

  26. Chelsea

    Hi Elise,

    This sounds delicious..I’m wondering, my boyfriend can’t really handle cream..Would i be able to substitute soy milk for the milk and cream or maybe do soy milk and half and half so its a little less dairy?

    You could just replace the dairy with more stock. Or water. Or you could try it with soy milk. I’ve not used soy milk as a substitute for regular milk in cooking. But I have made a butternut squash soup without cream and it was fine. ~Elise

  27. Susie

    The flavors in this soup were incredible. My husband does not like cream soup. So I chopped up the apples and the onions very fine and added the pumkpkin that I had frozen in the fall to the pot along with the herbs and the wonderful smoked paprika that I purchased at Costco. He also thinks he has to have meat, so I added smoked turkey sausage. After letting it simmer for 20 minutes, this soup was thick and creamy with vegetable and meat bites. He loved the soup without ever knowing it was pumpkin. I left the cream out to reduce the calories. It was great without it. I did put a little in my bowl to see how much it would change the flavor. Both versions were fantastic. I think my comment was, I could die eating this soup and be happy.

  28. Dana

    I just found another great use for smoked paprika — sweet ‘n’ spicy candied pecans/nuts. I’ve made them twice now.

    http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/12/sugar-and-spice-candied-nuts/

    I would suggest 1/4 cup less sugar, use both 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (mine isn’t hot) and at least 1/4 tsp cayenne, and 1.5 tsp cinnamon. Pecans taste the best.

  29. Ms. Glaze

    I just made something similar with potiron squash here in France. I just steamed it and blended it up with chicken stock. Delicious! Wish I had thought of the smoked paprika… Bises, Ms. Glaze

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