Curried Pumpkin White Bean Soup

43 Comments

My first introduction to pumpkin was probably like every other American’s – pumpkin pie. I had no idea that this lovely pie was made with a vegetable! The horror! I was married and just learning how to cook when I figured this out.

Pumpkin, the squash, does not taste like pumpkin pie. It’s kind of plain, really, but with some sweetness. But boy does it lend itself to all things sweet and savory.

When my kids were little, I snuck canned pumpkin into just about everything, from oatmeal and pancakes to soups, stews, and pastas. To me, the pumpkin just increased the nutrition of whatever I was making, and the girls never minded the color. Puréed spinach is a different story!

The only way to get canned pumpkin in the “old” days, was in cans. Nowadays, I purchase puréed organic pumpkin in cans or aseptic cartons. I learned a long time ago not to buy inferior brands of pumpkin. They are tasteless and watery.

If you want to be a purist, grab a cooking pumpkin, chop it in half, remove the seeds. If desired, drizzle the flesh with a little olive oil and season (if you’re using the pumpkin for something savory.) Cover the halves securely with foil, then bake in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours.

After the pumpkin has cooled, remove the flesh and place it on paper towels or a clean dish towel to remove the water. This step takes a couple of hours. If you want to expedite this, place a heavy baking dish over the paper towel-wrapped pumpkin flesh. This isn’t as critical of a step if you’re using the pumpkin purée for a soup.

Baking a pumpkin from scratch is an important thing to do once. It’s fun. Afterwards, you figure out it’s much easier to buy good puréed pumpkin! Plus, you know the weight of the pumpkin in the can, if you’re using a recipe.

You might have noticed this post published the day after America’s Thanksgiving event. That is because pumpkin to me is something that can be used year around. It isn’t just for autumnal dishes.

Curried Pumpkin White Bean Soup
serves 4
printable recipe below

2 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1” piece of fresh ginger, sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled, halved
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin purée
1 – 15.8 ounce can Great Northern beans, well drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 – 1/3 cup heavy cream, or other options, below

Heat butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes; a little browning is okay.

Add the ginger and garlic and sauté gently for about 2 minutes.

Pour in the chicken broth, let boil, then reduce the liquid by about half.

Add the pumpkin and beans and stir well. Add the seasoning and taste. Let cool before adding to the blender.

Now you’ve got curried pumpkin and white beans and you have options.

1. For a less creamy soup, use broth to blend the pumpkin and beans to your desired consistency. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or creme fraiche.

2. Use heavy cream to blend the pumpkin and beans for a super creamy and rich soup, and serve with cilantro and cayenne pepper flakes.

3. Use either of the above liquids, and top your soup with bacon bits or slices of grilled sausage. And the curry powder ingredients are optional, of course.

Because I’m a sucker for rich soups, I opted for number 2, using heavy cream. You can use 1/2 and 1/2, evaporated milk, or even goat milk. They will all work.

Stop blending when the soup is as thin as you want it; I prefer thicker soups, especially during cold months.

If you haven’t used white beans in a soup before, they’re a miracle worker. They thicken, just like potatoes, but they also add a creaminess and healthy fiber, without adding any significant flavor. It would be like adding tofu for creaminess, fiber, and thickness, which also works well.

Once you use white beans for a soup, you’ll be hooked. I promise.

 

 

43 thoughts on “Curried Pumpkin White Bean Soup

  1. What a nice idea to add the beans. I use butternut squash a lot, so similar, and will try adding the beans next time I make soup. As you say, it’s so versatile and I use it in all kinds of dishes.

  2. Love the addition of the white beans!!!! pure genius!

    hope you had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday, we are cozying up at home today, nothing to do but relax

    • That does sound nice. The rest of our family is coming over today; we’re going to raclette. I’m just glad we have a small family!

    • My people were here for two days. Plus for 1 1/2 days the addition of a 2 and a 5 year old. I’m exhausted. My husband said, when they all left, that he was overwhelmed and exhausted, and he hadn’t even done anything! Truer words were never spoken 😬

    • Years ago I used to teach classes on cooking – mostly how you don’t need recipes to create great, quick and easy food. People used to be astounded on how any vegetable could be pureed with beans or potatoes or tofu for a perfect soup. I still use beans a lot. They’re a fabulous ingredient.

  3. Great idea to add the beans mimi. Very difficult to get canned pumpkin here so we have to make our own puree :-). Pumpkin soup is pretty much a staple in cafes in winter. I like to add it to vegetarian lasagne. Pumpkin puree that is, not soup. Cheers sherry

    • I used to teach soup classes, and I’d show how you can use white beans, potatoes, or tofu to thicken and cream up soups. You have to drain the beans well, though.

  4. I don’t think it’s possible to buy canned pumpkin here in NZ as I don’t recall ever seeing it. Pumpkin is available in the shops all year round so we cook it. I must say it would be good to have the choice of buying a can sometimes when you don’t want the palaver of prepping the pumpkin!!
    When I want a creamy ‘sauce’ in a dish I’m making instead of adding cream I will add Coconut milk/cream which adds a nice flavour even if it doesn’t help the calorie content. I’m more likely to have a can of Coconut milk on the shelf than to have cream in the fridge! Would be lovely with your curry spices in this recipe too. The beans are an inspired addition. Yum.
    Thanks for more good ideas to fill our tummies. :))

    • I remember years ago it couldn’t be found in the UK either. Maybe it’s because of our Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays? It’s certainly easier to open a can of high-quality pumpkin. Maybe you should import it!

  5. Anyone with a semi-well-stocked pantry should have this soup on the table almost as soon as the urge strikes. In my house that’s my attitude about lunch most days. GREG

    • Well as you know, home cooking isn’t hard. Nor does it have to take a lot of time. That’s what I used to attempt to teach to others many years ago. You’re so right.

    • And, it’s pretty! Of course ghee isn’t necessary, but sometimes it gets lonely in my fridge! Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

  6. Mimi, we can get canned pumpkin here but it’s very expensive, about US$7/can. So, I mostly cook my own using sugar pumpkins when I can find them or butternut squash. Just now I have a big butternut squash that’s been looking for the right recipe and your Curried Pumpkin White Bean Soup looks to be just that recipe.

  7. This looks like a really beautiful comforting winter soup Mimi. I love all those spices in it. I’ll have to go for a can of pumpkin puree though rather than trying to make it myself. We only really get pumpkins here in the UK in October. In fact it’s only been a few years that I’ve actually been able to get pumpkin puree in the supermarket here too!

    • I remember when my daughter lived in London she couldn’t find pumpkin. (Or, salsa) But I would have thought they’re be a bigger demand for it. Really surprised, but at least you can find it now. I’d hoard it!

  8. This is a wonderful recipe, Mimi. I love the white beans added in combination with the pumpkin. There’s nothing here that doesn’t just sound fantastic!

    • Aww, thanks. I love using beans for creaminess and a thickening agent. And they don’t really affect the flavor in any way, but, like tofu, they can really shine with seasoning!

  9. Mimi, I love the addition of white beans to soups. I usually don’t blend them, but that’s a great idea! And those spices…. awesome flavor!

    • I tend to blend all of my soups, unless they have pieces of meat in them like bacon or chicken. Or a chowder, I guess, but I do love a vegetable soup that’s pureed.

    • Thank you Abbe. I survived Thanksgiving and am moving on to Christmas. I’ve always wished that Halloween could stay on the same date, but Thanksgiving moved to December, and then. Christmas moved to February. But no one has payed any attention to me thus far!

  10. Such a beautiful soup with such lovely spices. I love that pumpkin is so versatile — just as delicious in savory as sweet. I’ll be trying this soup on a cool night soon. :-) ~Valentina

    • I feel that all vegetables are versatile when it comes to a pureed soup like this. I’ve surprised people with broccoli soup before – people who didn’t think they liked broccoli! It’s so fun to play with the flavors.

  11. I know I would love this soup and great idea to use it with beans. I’ve never tried that. And I’m with you on buying the pumpkin puree though I do love roasted squash this time of year. I’m deathly afraid of cutting into them so I make my husband do it.

    • My hands have become arthritic, something I’m really sad about, but I did discover frozen cubed butternut squash at Whole Foods! I’m not too proud to use them.

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