Swamp Dragon Pumpkin Soup
Here's a great one in time for Halloween or Thanksgiving, from Matt's personal test kitchen! We should all be able to agree that vinegar in a pumpkin soup is probably not a good idea. Rum, on the other hand, works quite nicely, and we incorporated a bit of that as well as our Dark Rum Hot Sauce to give this pumpkin soup a character unlike any other.
4 small sugar pumpkins
butter or olive oil
1 large onion
5 cups chicken stock
3 small carrots or 1 big one
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 ounce dark rum
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon salt
Swamp Dragon Dark Rum Hot Sauce (Rum Dragon)
You can prep the pumpkins the day before if you like.
Cut up the pumpkins and remove all the strings and seeds. Discard the stringy stuff, and save the seeds for roasting. More on that at another time. Preheat the oven to 350. Next, to make your life easier, cover a cookie sheet or pan with aluminum foil and spray with some cooking spray.
Rub olive oil on the pumpkin rinds, and toss them in the sheetpan, rind side down, and into the hot oven in a middle rack. Bake for about an hour, until the pumpkin flesh is soft, and the whole thing is just sort of floppy and almost falling apart. Take them out, and let them cool off so you can handle them. Scoop the pumpkin meat from the rinds with a spoon or whatever you prefer, and put in a bowl. Discard the rinds.
If dealing with pumpkins ahead of time, you’re done for now. Cover the bowl, put it in the fridge, clean up, and then reward yourself with a nice glass of wine. But if you’re doing it all at once, read on!
Dice your onion.
Peel and dice your carrot(s).
Put a couple of tablespoons (roughly speaking) in the bottom of a dutch oven on your stove, and turn the heat on to medium.
Once the oil/butter is hot in the dutch oven, throw in both the onion and carrot. Stir often to prevent sticking, but not so much that they can’t cook. We want to brown the onion. We don’t want them caramelized or merely sweated - somewhere in between to get the sugars in the onion and carrot to develop.
Now, we should have something like 4 cups of pumpkin meat prepped, and we have 6 cups of stock ready to go. I start with a 1:1 ratio, and then tweak till I have the consistency I want. Opinions may vary.
Add 4 cups of stock to the onion/carrot mix, and bring to a boil.
Add the pumpkin. Grab a hand-held immersion blender and blend it till it’s smooth. Be careful not to splash; this stuff is hot!
Add the cream, and blend one last time to incorporate everything, turn the heat to low, and start a simmer. Toss a shot of dark rum in the soup.
Add all the rest of the seasonings, and stir thoroughly. Three of these last ingredients can be tweaked to taste - the salt, the maple syrup, and of course, the Rum Dragon. Any ingredient can be tweaked of course, but anyway… But addressing the Swamp Dragon specifically, varying amounts can have fairly dramatic results.
One teaspoon of Rum Dragon is going to open up the soup flavor in a subtle way that gives it a lovely balance. From here, just know you can make it really spicy or leave it just as it is. The best way to keep everyone happy is to leave it alone in the pot, and let your guests add as much as they want in their individual bowls. The best part, is that if you’re in a pepper heat craving kind of mood, you can add as much Rum Dragon as you want, and it will compliment the soup flavor in any amount. The sweetness of the rum, the clean pepper flavor and heat are all things that will play in perfect harmony in this soup.
Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds, and a light dusting of nutmeg. A small dollop of whipped cream might be nice too!
Serves 6 bowls or 12 cups. Or something like that...
Alternate and Convenient Versions:
Substitue canned pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie filling - pumpkin).
Make it vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken stock, and omitting the cream. Instead of adding a full tablespoon of salt, reduce that by half, and then add little by little, tasting as you go. The vegetable stock will need a different amount of salt that the chicken stock.
Substitute a vinegar hot sauce if you ran out of Swamp Dragon…. No! Just kidding! Vinegar in pumpkin soup would be nasty! Blech!