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This time of year, my husband Jack is constantly making soups – which I personally love because they are delicious (of course!), hearty and comforting. Plus – the leftovers are great for a quick reheat when our schedules are hectic and we don’t have time to cook!
Because of Jack’s love for soup, I’ve often given him soup cookbooks as a gift over the years. So a few years ago I bought him the New England Soup Factory Cookbook – written by the owners of a popular, soup restaurant located in Newton, Massachusetts and known for their delicious and innovative soup recipes. I used to work around the corner from that location, and I was often part of the out-the-door line of customers at lunchtime waiting for a delicious cup of soup! When they published their cookbook, I immediately bought a copy for Jack and this recipe was inspired by one of their recipes.
This Pumpkin Corn Chowder is a loose adaptation of a sweet potato and corn chowder recipe that The New England Soup Factory often serves at this time of year and is included in their cookbook. But we took our recipe in a different direction – swapping out the sweet potatoes and replacing it with both fresh chunks of pumpkin as well as pumpkin puree, creamed corn and a small amount of roux to thicken the soup!
We also seasoned our pumpkin corn chowder with ground coriander and garam masala. Garam masala is probably best known as a spice added to Indian cuisine, and it is a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, bay leaf and other spices, all of which pair extremely well with the other flavors in this pumpkin corn chowder! It’s a spice blend that is becoming more and more popular these days, and you can now find it in many local supermarkets (if you are unable to find it where you live, you can buy it here.)
We topped our pumpkin corn chowder with some toasted pumpkin seeds for color and a salty crunch when serving, but that’s optional.
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Pumpkin Corn Chowder
A few notes about buying and cooking with fresh pumpkin: When you purchase the fresh pumpkin, you can either purchase frozen diced pumpkin or fresh whole sugar pumpkins (also called eating pumpkins, also called sweet pumpkin). Do not buy regular pumpkins as they would not be good for eating and be very fibrous. The easiest way to prepare the fresh pumpkin is to remove the stem and cut it from top to bottom in half. Scoop out seeds and stringy fibrous inside and discard. Lay the pumpkin half cut side down on a cutting board and with a sharp knife, shave off the skin by running the knife from the top center down to the board skimming the knife blade just under the skin. Then dice peeled pumpkin into bite sized pieces.
- 1/2 cup diced pancetta
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 pounds diced pumpkin, see note
- 1 peeled and diced large Russet potato (1 1/2 – 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 15–ounce cans creamed corn
- 1 pound frozen corn
- 1 15–ounce can pumpkin puree
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups heavy cream (one pint)
- Optional toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
- In a large pot, heat pancetta and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat until pancetta is crisp, five to ten minutes.
- Add garlic, onions, celery and carrot and cook for five minutes.
- Add stock, diced pumpkin, diced potato, chopped parsley, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt, pepper, coriander garam masala, creamed corn, frozen corn and pumpkin puree. Bring to a boil and simmer ten minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- While soup is cooking, in a medium sauce pan, place last two tablespoons of butter and melt over medium heat. Add flour and cook for two to three minutes until raw flour smell is gone. Add a few ladles full of the soup to the cooked butter and flour and stir to form a thick mixture then pour this into the soup and stir.
- Add heavy cream, stir and check for seasoning.
- If you purchased raw pumpkin seeds, place them in a dry pan and heat over medium high for five or so minutes to toast.
- Serve soup with toasted pumpkin seeds.
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