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Pumpkin Red Pepper Soup

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

Last night, when I was looking around the kitchen for something simple (and delicious) to make for dinner, I scanned the countertops and landed on our last two pumpkins gathering dust in the corner of the kitchen.

I’ve had a garden for the last eight years, but this was the first year I ever grew pumpkins and it was a complete accident. My husband and I had a little compost box going next to the porch that was easier access for leaves and yard compost than our large compost up on top of the hill behind our house. When the locally grown pumpkins I had on our porch for decoration started to rot after the first frost last fall, I quite literally just kicked them into the compost pile next to them. Eight months later, the compost box became a happy little pumpkin patch and I will confidently say that I plan to grow pumpkins for the rest of my life.

I feel guilty when I admit that I haven’t made pie with my home-grown pumpkins, but the fall is the busiest time of the year for me, and so I guess my excuse is that I made pies in 4-10 pie batches and just couldn’t find the energy to attempt something new - I’m hoping that I can find the time/energy to do it next year! What I did figure out is that pumpkin soup is one of the greatest things I have ever eaten and I make it ALL THE TIME. I tastes similar to a butternut squash soup, but I honestly think I like it even more. It is sweet, nutty, and, when combined with red bell peppers, it has so much natural rich flavor.

This is also the moment where I should say this: get to know your local farmers and become a frequent flyer at your local farmers market. At the Missoula market, there is a farmer who grows the most beautiful red peppers you have ever seen. At the end of each year, he sells scratch and dent peppers, and so I buy them by the 20lb box (20lbs for $20! Or even less if you buy more!). Then I spend two to three days listening to podcasts and chopping peppers. It is tedious and time consuming and my shoulders always hurt afterward, but it is absolutely worth it. I just store them in bags and put them in the freezer, and then I have peppers for the rest of the year. Usually I throw them in as an afterthought to add a little flavor to some potatoes or chili, but I have a few recipes like this one that wouldn’t be the same without them.

This recipe takes about thirty minutes to get together and doesn’t require any roasting, so all you need is a cutting board/knife, measuring tools, a pot, and some way to puree. As with all soups, I like to make this in large batches so that we can eat it for a few days or freeze it for a later meal. Nothing beats walking in the house after a long day or having a friend over in the afternoon and heating up a thick, delicious, already-made soup. Just add toast and butter!

Pumpkin and Red Pepper Soup

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Makes: One 6-quart pot


4 Tablespoons Butter

1 Large Onion, chopped

1 Head Garlic, finely chopped

3 cups Diced Red Peppers (2-3 Large red peppers)

4 cups Chicken Broth (or 4 cups hot water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes. I chop up the bouillon cubes before using them because they dissolve better that way)

2 cups water

3 Medium potatoes (or 1-2 large potatoes, mine were about the size of a baseball)

1 Medium pumpkin (or 2 small pie pumpkins, my single pumpkin was about the size of a cantaloupe)

1 Tablespoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Pepper

For the Soup:

-Put butter, onions, and garlic in the bottom of a large soup pot on medium heat.

Stir to mix with the melting butter so the onion and garlic don’t stick to the bottom.

-Once you hear the mixture “sizzling” for a minute, turn the heat down to low and throw in the red peppers. Let this sit and simmer for 10-15 minutes while you get the rest of the ingredients ready, stirring occasionally.

-Cut up the potato and set aside. No need to peel.

-Cut the pumpkin into large chunks, scoop out entrails, and peel with a knife (picture included). Please, be careful when you do this. The skin is tough and it is super easy to slip and cut yourself during this process.

-Once peeled, chop pumpkin into smaller chunks.

-Add pumpkin and potato to the pot and pour broth (or bouillon cube water) and water over the top. You want the liquid to be just over the top of the pumpkin and potatoes. Adjust water amount as necessary.

-Stir mixture well so that the onion/garlic/peppers are mixed thoroughly with the potato and pumpkin.

-Add salt and pepper and mix again.

-Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil (I usually use this time to clean up my chopping mess)

-Once boiling, turn down to medium-low heat and give it a good stir.

-Let simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

-After 20 minutes, let simmer with the lid off for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

-Remove from heat and use an immersion blender or standing blender to puree the soup. If you make a lot of soups, I recommend getting an immersion blender because you can puree the soup without removing it from the pot.

-At this point, use your judgment. If you like a really thick soup and the soup is too runny, let it sit on the heat with the lid off a little longer to steam some of the water off. If you like a runnier soup, add some water and leave it on the heat for just a little bit to heat up the added water. Just MAKE SURE that you are stirring the soup a lot if you are keeping on a heat source after pureeing it - otherwise, it might burn to the bottom of the pot.

-Serve with buttered toast!

-Sometimes I add a dollop of sour cream for some extra creamy flavor, but this is absolutely not necessary and I usually just eat as is!

Some notes:

-This soup is very forgiving, so if you don’t have exact amounts of ingredients, just do your best. This is the best combination I have come up with, but I have made this soup ten different ways and it is always good.

-I have never done this with canned pumpkin puree, but my guess is that you would need about one 30oz (large) can of pumpkin puree. If you do it this way, simmer the potatoes in the broth with onions/garlic/pepper mix for 30 minutes or until the potato is very mushy. Then add the pumpkin puree and blend it together with the soup. Next, put back on low heat and let cook for another 20 minutes, stirring frequently to really let all of the flavors combine.

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