Not Your Mom’s Pumpkin Soup

You know it’s pumpkin season when the TV special for the evening is “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”. Well, there’s that and the playoffs. Two big tip-offs; even I would have to be living under a rock to miss those.

So it’s pumpkin season, and I’ll admit it. When it comes to squash, my favorite way to eat it is usually in a baked good. Oh, I do like acorn squash roasted with butter, but pies, muffins and the the ubiquitous tea cakes are really my favorites. That means that for a main dish I want different ingredients than the usual pumpkin companions, leaving me continuously on the lookout for another interesting way to cook those winter squash. The following recipe uses pumpkin, however I’m betting it would be equally good with butternut, acorn or some other lesser known squash such as buttercup.

This bisque has no apples. It has no cinnamon, no pumpkin pie or apple pie spice mixes. No nuts here, and barely any sugar. What it does have are some incredible flavors in the form of caramelized onions, marsala and bacon. Other than the bacon, there’s little fat in the soup, because it calls for milk rather than cream.

I’ve also made it easy on myself by using canned pumpkin. Feel free to substitute your own roasted pumpkin if you just happen to have one lying about.

Pumpkin Bisque with Marsala and Bacon (Printer-friendly recipe)

4 pieces Bacon
1/2 Onion, diced
3/4 cup dry Marsala
1 15-ounce can Pumpkin Puree
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
1-2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 – 1 1/2 cups Milk

Note: With the understanding that the bisque will be sweeter, a sweet marsala may be substituted for the dry. If this substitution is made, omit the sugar and use only 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.

Fry bacon in pan until crisp. Remove to drain, reserving bacon drippings in pan. To drippings, add onion and cook until caramelized.
Deglaze pan with marsala, then add pumpkin, chicken broth, sugar, spices and balsamic vinegar. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Puree pumpkin mixture using immersion blender or in batches using standard blender.
Return soup to heat and add milk to achieve desired consistency. Heat through and serve topped with crumbled bacon and a dollop crème fraîche.

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5 responses to “Not Your Mom’s Pumpkin Soup

  1. Pumpkin AND bacon? 2 of my favorite foods! Add the word ‘bisque’ in there and I’m sold.

  2. Your soup looks excellent to me!!

    Here in Belgium, we can’t buy pumpkin puree in a can but I prefer to use fresh pumpkins!

  3. I’m not a big fan of sweet pumpkin/squash recipes so whenever I see a savory one, I get all silly with happiness and immediately add it to my list of “must try this.” Looks delicious Alyssa!

  4. OMG, NEVER again will I make pumpkin soup/bisque WITHOUT marsala or bacon! God meant for these to go together like He meant for chocolate and port to go together!

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