Pumpkin soup prepares a household for fall

Kate Lawson
The Detroit News

I know what you’re thinking: it’s too soon to be thinking about hot soups just yet. Nevertheless, I predict that this is a soup recipe that you will be making all through the fall and winter.

I hadn’t planned on making hot soup so soon, but last week when the temps topped out in the 90s, I stayed inside and decided it would be the perfect time to clean out the freezer. Last year I roasted some pumpkins, scooped out the flesh and froze for later. When I unearthed the gorgeous golden pulp, I knew I had to make soup or toss the goods to make room for this year’s bounty.

I also had some spinach on hand and adapted a recipe from a website, minimalistbaker.com that called for a kale topping. You can use canned pumpkin if you want, but trust me, try making it with the fresh puree just once. Light coconut milk and a touch of honey or maple syrup give it just the right hint of sweet.

klawson@detroitnews.com

KateLawson14@twitter.com

Easy Pumpkin Soup with Spinach

Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to a few days, and in the freezer for up to a month or more.

2 sugar pumpkins (2 1/4 cups pumpkin puree)

2 shallots, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups veggie stock

1 cup light coconut milk (or sub other nondairy milk with varied results)

2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

1/4 teaspoon each sea salt, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg

Garlic Spinach Sesame Topping

1 cup roughly chopped spinach

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut off the tops of two sugar pumpkins and then halve them. Use a sharp spoon to scrape out all of the seeds and strings.

Brush the flesh with oil and place face down on the baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the skin. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then peel away skin and set pumpkin aside.

Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, shallot and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly browned and translucent. Add remaining ingredients, including the pumpkin, and bring to a simmer.

Transfer soup mixture to a blender or use an emulsion blender to puree the soup. If using a blender, place a towel over the top of the lid before mixing to avoid any accidents. Pour mixture back into pot. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes and taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve as is or with Spinach-Sesame topping.

For the Spinch-Sesame topping: In a small skillet over medium heat, dry toast sesame seeds for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until slightly golden brown. Be careful, as they can burn quickly. Remove from pan and set aside.

To the still hot pan, add olive oil and garlic and sauté until golden brown — about 2 minutes. Add spinach and toss, then add a pinch of salt and cover to steam. Cook for another few minutes until spinach is wilted and then add sesame seeds back in. Toss to coat and set aside for topping soup. Serves 4.

Per serving: 190 calories; 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 43 percent calories from fat); 25 g carbohydrates; 14 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 487 mg sodium; 4 g protein; 5 g fiber.