This is a silky pumpkin soup with a warm hit of ginger. It's a hit with my family because they love adding all the toppings. I usually make it with my own oven roasted pumpkin puree in the fall, but it's equally good with canned pumpkin puree (make sure not to get the pie filling by mistake). You can go crazy and add other toppings you like: croutons, other shredded cheeses, chopped red or green onions, sauteed mushrooms, avocado chunks, sour cream, fresh herbs . . .
The recipe makes a large batch, but it reheats beautifully for next day lunches, or freeze some for a busy day.
For the soup:
grated or finely minced ginger
potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 cups cubes)
pureed unstrained pumpkin, or 1 28-oz can plus 1 and 1/2 cups water
Chop the onions, mince the garlic and grate or mince the ginger.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent and starting to get golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and diced potatoes. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the bay leaves from the soup and add the pumpkin. Puree the soup, in batches if necessary, in a blender (or with an immersion blender, which may not be quite as silky smooth, but tasty all the same).
Return the pureed soup to the pot and add the brown sugar, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust for seasoning. You may need up to ½ teaspoon more salt, but it all depends on how salty your broth was. Bring back to a gentle boil. Add some more water if you like a thinner soup.
Serve with your choice of garnishes on the side for diners to help themselves.