Make Ahead

Single Pumpkin & Potato Soup with Fennel & Sage

September 19, 2013
Author Notes

"Single" because of its singular simplicity. One of every soup-friendly ingredients mingles in this velvety autumn minestra. —Cassie Jones

Test Kitchen Notes

I hoped for a pumpkin soup that wouldn't end up being run-of-the-mill: success! Cassie's soup is delightful: easy to make, full of fresh ingredients, and hearty enough for a stand-alone meal. The potato adds a velvety richness that balances the slight spiciness of the fennel, and the sage is the perfect final seasoning. Since a single-pound pumpkin is nearly impossible to find, I roasted a larger one and used half. Additionally, I substituted vegetable broth for water and served the soup with crumbled goat cheese, which added a touch more creaminess. Definitely a new addition to our fall soup rotation. —kitchen_ninja

  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 1 pound whole pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 pink shallot
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 large potato (baking size)
  • 1 quart water (or stock)
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage (about 4 to 6 leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional, for garnish)
  • Crusty bread, for serving
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut off the top and bottom off of your pumpkin. Halve and remove seeds. Place the pumpkin halves cut-side down onto a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil. Bake for 45 minutes or 1 hour, or until very tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool.
  2. Prepare fennel by removing greens and stem base and outer layers if they are bruised. Roughly chop and place in a bowl of cool water. Agitate the fennel and make sure any dirt hiding inside the layers of the fennel has been washed away. Rinse and strain.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium-low in a pot large enough for your entire batch of soup. Add fennel, salt, and pepper.
  4. Roughly chop onion, shallot, garlic, celery, potato, and carrot. Add all of it to the pot. Sautée until the vegetables begin to soften.
  5. Scoop the pumpkin from out of its skin, with a spoon. Add to the pot. Immediately add the water, freshly grated nutmeg, and bay leaf.
  6. Bring soup to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Allow to cook until the potato smashes easily against the side of the pot with a spoon, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Puree the soup with an upright or stick blender. Return to low heat. Taste, then add water, salt, or pepper if needed.
  8. Remove the small stems at the bases of the leaves of sage. Using a chef's knife or mezzaluna, finely mince the sage into small pieces, smaller than 1 millimeter. For a finer texture, use a mortar and pestle and grind the sage. Add the fine sage to the soup. Stir and let soup set for 15 minutes over very low heat.
  9. Serve the soup warm. If you'd like, top the soup with a good amount of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve with a good crusty bread.
  10. This soup is wonderful if made ahead, and tastes even better as the next day's leftovers!

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