Fall is my favorite season. Because it’s synonymous with cozy outfits, comfort food, and the unparalleled beauty of New England foliage. Because the air is crisp, and harvest is plentiful, and everything is on the edge of change. Because it’s a great time to reflect on another year that flew by but that’s not quite over yet. And because it’s soup season.
There’s still three months left for the year, but oh – already! – what a year it’s been.
The next few months bring a lot of uncertainty and doubt for the two countries I call home, the world is in the fourth year of civil war, but in spite all that, there’s still hope and incredible acts of kindness and humanity.
The days are getting shorter, but we can fill our nights with throwbacks to the eighties and new Marvel shows. For those minutes between days and nights, we can laugh and sing and get hungry with Drake on Cake.
And my boyfriend considers fall his least favorite season, but me his most favorite human. So things feel right.
And now it’s soup season.
I made this Creamy Pumpkin Soup to use fall’s quintessential produce, and blended it with one of my most adored things in this world, cream cheese (proof: all the cheesecake recipes I’ve made over the years). The base of the soup is vegetarian stock, its flavor boosted by aromatics (shallots and garlic), and everything is simmered until the texture is thick and smooth and creaaamy. The kind of texture that would be the equivalent to the voices of Lionel Ritchie, Whitney Houston, and Bill Withers. That kind of smooth and creamy.
I used pumpkin cream cheese from one of go-to bagel shops, Bruegger’s, which lent a slightly sweet flavor and velvety mouth-feel to the soup. I balanced it with plenty of spice, from cayenne pepper and chili pepper flakes, and a bonus kick of smokiness from paprika. And the final flourish? A sprinkling of crispy sage. I love the combination of earthy pumpkin and crispy sage (look: Smoked Gouda and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese) and I think you will too.
Creamy Pumpkin Soup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1/2 tablespoon for frying sage
1 tablespoon butter
1 small shallot, chopped (approximately 1 tbsp)
1 garlic clove, chopped (approximately 1 tsp)
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
6 oz pumpkin cream cheese (I used Bruegger's)
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
5 sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of chili pepper flakes (optional)
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan or dutch oven. Add shallots and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Add the pumpkin puree and cream cheese, stir until smooth, cooking for a minute.
- Turn the heat down to medium low. Pour in the vegetable stock, add cayenne pepper and paprika (and chili pepper flakes, if using), and simmer for 15-20 minutes until smooth is thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a small frying pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Fry up the sage leaves for about 30-45 seconds on each side, then transfer to a cutting board and chop finely.
- Pour soup into individual bowls and garnish with crispy sage. Serve with bread or crackers.
I got my pumpkin cream cheese from Bruegger's Bagels, one of my favorite local bagel shops, but it's also typically available during the fall season at grocery stores like Trader Joe's and Wegmans. You can also just use regular cream cheese, but add in 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg with the other spices.
I hope your fall season is filled with good changes and good soup.
This post was sponsored by Bruegger’s Bagels. Thank you for supporting Confessions of a Chocoholic and the brands that support this blog.