Pumpkin is naturally sweet, so the secret to good pumpkin soup is to play up the savory aspects instead. That’s best accomplished with a nice hit of garlic and sage. Add some cheese toasts trimmed like grinning jack-o’-lanterns. This is one soup that truly does make a meal.
|2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cheese toasts||1 teaspoon dried sage|
|1 medium yellow onion, chopped||1 teaspoon salt|
|1 celery stalk, chopped||8 cups chicken stock|
|4 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 whole peeled clove for cheese toasts||12 slices French or Italian bread , for cheese toasts|
|1 pound pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)||Parmesan, Gouda, cheddar or any cheese you like, for grating on cheese toasts|
|1 medium potato, peeled and diced|
In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, celery and garlic, and saute until lightly browned and softened. Add the pumpkin, potato, sage, salt and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
When the pumpkin and potato are tender, puree the soup with an immersion blender (or, carefully, in a blender). Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Under the broiler, toast the bread until crisp and golden and then brush with olive oil. Rub the garlic clove very lightly over one side (the crisp surface will “grate” off a light coating of garlic onto the bread). Sprinkle thickly with cheese and run back under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Use the tip of a paring knife to cut a grinning face on each toast. Spoon the soup into bowls and float 2 toasts on each serving.
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