Smashin’ Pumpkins

Now you have more than one reason to get to a pumpkin patch and get picking! Carving pumpkins is festive, but roasting and smashing them in a delicious soup is even better! Who says pumpkins should just be left to seasonal coffee creamers, scented candles, and sweet desserts? No. We’re going to make pumpkins for dinner, by roasting them for a savory Autumn-inspired soup! Rustic, smooth and welcoming ours will be, and it’s getting some help from the likes of a butternut squash, crisp pancetta, fresh sage, and little cream. Oh yes, that will do…

Now, we aren’t using just your average carving pumpkin, but small, sugar pumpkins that are suited for baking and roasting. Their flesh is less fibrous, more delicate, and tastes better. You can find the sugar variety now in local markets & farmer’s markets. Sometimes you’ll see them labeled as ‘pumpkin pie pumpkins’ well, for that exact purpose! We’ll get to that recipe as we get closer to Turkey Day, but for now it’s time for dinner! Once roasted, our pumpkins and butternut squash will be blended into a base, and we’ll be adding a small amount of cream to smooth it out. We’re going to top the soup off with some delicious pancetta, and even a few of our toasted pumpkin seeds, just becasue we can!

So, here we have one of my most favorite Fall meals, Roasted Pumpkin Butternut Soup, with Pancetta & Sage.

Now, if you’re in a weeknight rush, I’d recommend saving this dish till the weekend, or for an evening where you have more free kitchen time. This recipe is quite hands-on at the beginning, since you essentially have to carve the baby pumpkins and get well, gory! Yep, hands-deep in gooey & sticky pumpkin guts (though that does seem appropriate with Halloween coming up), and you’ll have to split the stubborn squashes down the middle to get your halves. This takes a lil’ elbow grease and a rather huge knife, so hold off on that manicure till after you eat. Despite this seeming like a laborious prep, in the end you’ll be the proud chef of one palate-pleasing-pot-of-pumpkin goodness! And if that’s not enough, we save & toast the pumpkin seeds for added snacking bonus – a two for one!

So, roll up your sleeves cause we’re getting our gourds in the oven, and roasting the heck out of them…

Here are the combined recipes for roasted pumpkins, the pumpkin butternut soup and the seasoned & toasted pumpkin seeds:

5 from 1 reviews
Roasted Pumpkin Butternut Soup with Pancetta & Sage
Fresh pumpkin & butternut squash are roasted with some other savory ingredients to make one fantastically flavorful Fall soup! We will add a little cream, sage, wine, & pancetta to make this one extra special. This one is smooth, creamy and delicious!
Serves: large soup pot, enough for many leftovers
Prep time: 
Total time: 
What to get:
For Roasting:
  • 4 sugar pumpkins (small, sometimes called 'pumpkin pie pumpkins')
  • 1 butternut squash (medium size)
  • 1 large yam
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for basting on vegetables to roast
  • ground sage
  • several leaves fresh sage
  • S&P
  • parchment paper, to line baking sheets
  • aluminum foil, for covering pans to roast
For the soup pot:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 leaves fresh sage
  • 1 sweet white onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ - ½ cup cream or half and half
  • 2 oz diced pancetta (or chopped bacon will work too)
  • 1 32-oz carton chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 1 14.5 oz can additional chicken broth, for thinning soup as desired (optional)
  • 1.5 cups white wine (non sweet) (you will use ½ cup for sautéing and rest toward end)
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper (reserve ½ tsp for seasoning later)
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt (reserve ½ tsp for seasoning later)
  • ½ tsp ground sage
  • 2 leaves of fresh sage
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ⅓ tsp dried thyme
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
For toasted pumpkin seeds:
  • cleaned seeds from pumpkins above (air dried)
  • dashes of fine black pepper, kosher salt & paprika
  • dash each of dried thyme & garlic powder
  • For topping/garnish:
  • crisped pancetta/chopped bacon, from above
  • dollop of sour cream
  • fresh sage leaf and a few of the toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish!
  • Fresh toasted & buttered bread to serve along with soup (optional)
What to do:
Roast the vegetables:
  1. Halve pumpkins & butternut squash, scrape inside well to remove all seeds/guts & transfer seeds to a colander & set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Cut yam into 3 large chunks, can leave skin on because will remove later, once cooked.
  4. Peel carrot,cut into a few large chunks.
  5. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment, then spray with oil to coat.
  6. On prepared baking sheets, arrange halved pumpkins & squash (flesh side up) with yam & carrots, and baste with EVOO & dashes of salt, pepper & sage.
  7. Over top of veggies lay several fresh sage leaves, evenly across squashes.
  8. To bottom of rimmed pans add water, enough to spread a layer across bottom of each (about 1.5 cups for each of my large pans).
  9. Roast pans uncovered for 45 minutes (mine had to go onto two different racks).
  10. While squash roasts, clean reserved seeds from pumpkins discarding guts, and rinse clean & allow to air dry, set aside.
  11. After initial 45 min of roasting in oven, check tenderness of squashes with fork, add ¼ cup more water to bottom of each pan as needed, cover with aluminum foil, continue to bake until all is tender and done, about another 45 mins, (add additional time for roasting until they are very tender).
  12. Once done, remove roasting pans from oven, allowing to cool enough to handle squash.
  13. With large metal spoon, scrape out roasted/tender pumpkin & squash flesh from skins, place into separate bowl.
  14. Remove skin from yam chunks (should peel away easily now), and add to bowl with pumpkins/squash, also adding cooked carrot chunks (make sure carrots are tender).
Make the soup on the stove:
  1. In large enameled dutch oven, add 1T from stick of butter & preheat pot (don't brown butter).
  2. Add 2 oz of package of diced pancetta (or chopped bacon) and brown.
  3. Once pancetta is crisp, remove from pot reserving drippings, and drain pancetta/bacon on paper towel, set aside for topping.
  4. To same pot with drippings, melt rest of the stick of butter & add 2 leaves of fresh sage (don't let butter burn).
  5. Add chopped onion, garlic & celery, sautéing in butter till tender, also add 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp pepper, and ½ tsp dried ground sage and sauté.
  6. Add ½ cup of the wine & continue to sauté.
  7. Now add the roasted pumpkin/squash, yam & carrot chunks.
  8. Add ¾ the carton of chicken stock, stirring all well.
  9. Temporarily turn off burner & use hand-held immersion blender to puree vegetables thoroughly.
  10. Return burner to medium-low add remaining broth from carton & remaining 1 cup of wine.
  11. Now add rest of all seasonings: ginger, cayenne pepper, allspice, thyme & additional ½ tsp each salt & pepper.
  12. Simmer soup on medium-low for about 30 more min, stirring intermittently.
Make roasted pumpkin seeds while soup simmers!:
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Make sure pumpkin seeds are virtually moisture-free & put in medium bowl.
  3. Add dash garlic powder & thyme dashes black pepper and salt, mix to coat.
  4. Add 1 tsp EVOO, mix seeds well.
  5. On lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet, spread seed mix evenly & roast for ~10 min in oven, (after 10 min, stir seeds loose so they don't stick, and spread them around).
  6. Bake another ~5-10 minutes till brown/crisp (avoid over cooking- will burn/pop like corn kernels!)
  7. Remove & let cool on pan.
...Back to soup:
  1. Stir soup on low & remove pot from heat/burner.
  2. Allow to cool slightly & add ¼ -1/2 cup of cream (or half-and-half) to your preference, stirring to combine.
  3. Once incorporated, return soup to burner, heat on low adding more salt/seasoning as desired (you can add additional chicken broth from optional can above, if you want yours thinner).
  4. Serve soup hot in bowls with topping of: dollop of sour cream, some crisp pancetta. For garnish add few of the toasted pumpkin seeds & sage leaf!
Notes:
The cook time for this soup is long because it also accounts for the roasting time in the oven, which is an 1-1:30 min about. Hands-on prep is only about 35 min & you can speed up the process by using your food processor to roughly chop the onion, garlic & celery!
The soup itself only simmers for about 40 min on stove and you'll only need about 20 min for toasting the pumpkin seeds. (Can rinse and prep seeds while pans are roasting).

This soup is very hands-on due to essentially having to carve pumpkins, clean seeds and scrape them once roasted. It is very helpful to use a grapefruit spoon to aid in removing seeds/cleaning pumpkin guts!
Better to over roast the squashes, so make sure they are completely tender before removing from oven (may take another 30 min, depends on size of squashes).

You can add more or less of the cream to your liking, or lighten-up using fat free half-and-half. The squash makes this one thick, but we use a handheld immersion blender to smooth out chunks, and we add chicken stock to reach desired thinness. If you do not have a handheld immersion blender, you can puree out the soup chunks in batches in your blender or food processor (prior to adding cream).
Serve with crusty buttered bread! Leftovers freeze well also!
Serving size: a large bowl

I will say that I would personally like to thank the genious who engineered the ‘grapefruit spoon’ because that always makes deseeding/scooping out pumpkin guts WAY easier! So, if you have any kind of serrated-edge utensil, I recommend one! Also, prepping this one ahead makes it simpler. If you can clean the squashes the day before, and pre-chop the other ingreds ahead, it will save you time on meal night.

This really is one of my favorite dishes and worth the fuss. It is warm, inviting and down right festive. The hearty fresh pumpkins & squash make for an inherently thick texture, once blended. You can skip adding the cream or half-and-half entirely, though I added a little over 1/4 cup of cream that I had on-hand, and it made this ever smoother. If you want to go meatless, skip prepping the pot with the pancetta/bacon and just use butter to sauté the onion/celery/garlic mix. I will say that the salty bacon/pancetta really imparts a wonderful flavor to this milder soup. We use a good amount of both fresh and ground sage here because it is the perfect flavor compliment to roasted squash… well, at least I think so! Though we’re adding some indulgent ingredients, this soup is fiber and antioxidant packed, and that never hurts. This is one of a few posts to come featuring Fall pumpkin & spice flavors, so stay tuned for more in the weeks ahead…!

If you love pumpkin season as much as I do, I know you’ll love this soup… Happy Carving!

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Thank you for visiting the dinnervine! In the words of Julia Child, "People who love to eat, are always the best people," and I couldn't agree more. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did making them. Here's to creating new recipes and memories with friends & family, cheers! 

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