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
- 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.
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.
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.
Yield: Serves 8.