This is such a lovely and warming soup and makes a great statement as a dish served at a dinner party. You can serve it as an appetizer, or as the main course with warm, buttered focaccia.
Makes: 6 x 1 1/4 cup servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
For the bowls:
- 6 small baking pumpkins, about 6 inches wide (sugar or baby bear pumpkins work well)
- 14 g / 1 tbsp Crystal margarine
- salt and pepper
For the soup:
- 56 g / 1/4 cup Crystal margarine
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 g / 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 g / 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 g / 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 15 g / 1 tbsp brown sugar, packed
- 4 g / 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
- 1 kg / 2.2 lbs squash (such as pumpkin, butternut, or buttercup) – peeled and diced into 1 inch (2 1/2 cm) pieces
- 1L / 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 60 ml / 1/4 cup heavy cream
For the garnish:
- 1 1/2 cups reserved pumpkin seeds
- 28 g / 2 tbsp Crystal margarine
- 9 g / 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 g / 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 g / 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC) and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Carefully cut off the tops of the pumpkins about 2 inches (5 centimetre) below the stem. Scoop out the flesh and seeds, scraping as little as possible from the inside bottom. Set aside the seeds for garnish. Melt 1 tbsp Crystal margarine and brush on inside of each pumpkin, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place pumpkins and lids on prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes until just softened. Set pumpkins aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325º F (165º C) for roasting seeds.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt Crystal margarine. Add the diced onion and sautée until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, thyme and cubed squash; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 more minutes. Pour in the stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until squash can easily be pierced by a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. When done, remove from heat to cool.
- While soup is simmering, place reserved pumpkin seeds in a bowl filled with cold water. Gently rub off any flesh attached to the seeds, allowing it to sink. Skim off clean seeds, drain and dry on paper towels. Lay seeds on a baking sheet.
- Melt Crystal margarine and add paprika, nutmeg, and garlic powder. Drizzle over dried seeds and stir to coat. Bake, stirring often, for 25 minutes or until golden. Season with salt to taste.
- In a blender, purée the cooled soup until smooth. If soup is very thick add 1/4 cup of water while blending. Return soup to saucepan and warm over medium heat. Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle soup into pumpkin bowls and garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.
- If small baking pumpkins are unavailable, use another small squash such as buttercup, acorn, or kabocha. If necessary, slice a thin piece off the bottom end so squash lies flat.