The sudden drop in temperature makes it perfect soup weather. Yesterday I made Creamy Cauliflower Soup from a recent Cooks Illustrated. It is good but the white color reminds me of the Cream of Wheat breakfast cereal that I used to make for the children. Not that appetizing.

Most often I make soup with leftover chicken or turkey, simmering the bones with onions and herbs, adding any meat scraps and any vegetables that are in the refrigerator. It turns out differently each time but always flavorful and warming.

The bins of pumpkins and squash at the orchard are reminders that this is the season for Pumpkin Soup. I like to cut a couple of small sugar pumpkins in half, brush the cut edges with a little olive oil and roast them cut side down. By the time it they are tender, the pumpkin touching the roasting pan has caramelized adding depth to the flavor.

This is my daughter Laura’s recipe. It is a hearty soup, a meal itself with some good crusty bread and butter. You can substitute the pumpkin with any winter squash, such as buttercup or acorn. Once the pumpkin is cooked, the soup comes together very quickly.

Laura’s Pumpkin Soup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

1 small onion
2 tablespoon olive oil
4-5 cups cooked pumpkin (approximately 2 small sugar pumpkins)
2 cups water or stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon red pepper (optional)
2 cups cream (can be heavy or light cream or milk depending on taste)
Pepper to taste
Chopped parsley or croutons for garnish

1. Halve the pumpkins, scoop out the pulp and seeds and place face down in a baking pan with a little water on the bottom. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a fork slides easily into the flesh of the pumpkins. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to the point of handling.
2. Chop the onion finely and, using the olive oil, sauté on the stovetop on a medium-low flame for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Take care not to brown them too much. You want them soft but not crispy.
3. Scoop out the cooked pumpkin from the skins and place in a soup pot over a medium-low flame.
4. Add the onions, water, nutmeg, red pepper, salt and pepper and stir well. If the mixture seems too dry you can add more water. It should be the consistency of porridge.
5. Cook the mixture for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring regularly.
6. Reduce flame to low and add the cream. Stir into the mixture and heat long enough for the soup to become hot. Serve with parsley or crouton garnish.
For a creamy soup, use a food processor or an immersible blender after step 4 to purée the mixture.

Makes approximately 6 servings.