Harvest Pumpkin Soup, Au Bon Pain

she said:

I would be remiss if I did not urge you run to your closest Au Bon Pain immediately to buy as much Harvest Pumpkin Soup as you can consume before turning into the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

This time of year, I love all things pumpkin (pie, ravioli, beer, latte, you name it).  This soup gets the blue ribbon.   It lacks the baby food texture of most pumpkin and squash soups.  Instead, it’s brothy with tiny silky particles of pumpkin.  It strikes a perfect balance between sweet and savory and avoids tasting like liquefied pie.  Just try it, you’ll see.  Otherwise, would I be spending my Sunday evening reviewing a huge corporate chain that thousands of people already know about?  No.  I would not.

I owe this recommendation to my dear friend Katie, who’s been urging me to try the soup for months.  I wish I hadn’t waited so long; Harvest Pumpkin is seasonal so I’m not sure how much longer Au Bon Pain will be offering it.

This post, I realize, strays from our dual perspective approach.   That’s because, other than jack-o-lanterns, my husband doesn’t like things made out of pumpkin.  Also, I’ve just spent the last few hours trying to replicate Au Bon Pain’s recipe and our kitchen is totally trashed…. right in time for dinner, which I didn’t make and for which I have no more room.  I’m full of my failed attempts to imitate Au Bon Pain’s masterpiece.

Here’s the recipe I used:

Harvest Pumpkin Soup (delicious but not as good as Au Bon Pain’s)
~2-lb Sugar Pumpkin
~2-lb Butternut squash
S&P
2 Tbsp Butter (salted)
1 cup Sweet Onion, diced
1/2 cup Carrots, diced
1/3 cup Celery, diced

Fresh diced ginger, about 1 ½ teaspoons

1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon

A few dashes of allspice, maybe 1/2 tspn

A few dashes of ground ginger, maybe 1 tspn

3 Tbsp Tomato Paste (concentrated)
1/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
8 cups Vegetable Broth (I use the little squares that you mix with boiling water)
1 cup Half & Half

Preheat your oven to 400. Slice the pumpkin and squash from stem to bottom and remove seeds and pulp. Season with S&P and roast on a cookie sheet for 45 – 60 minutes, or until tender.

Ten minutes before the pumpkin and squash are done roasting, in a large stock pot, melt the butter. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute until the onions are soft and translucent. Then add the ginger, cinnamon, tomato paste, and brown sugar. Stir to combine heat over medium until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vegetable stock and bring the pot to a boil. When the pumpkin and squash are tender (pumpkin may be more so than the squash), scoop out all of the flesh and add it to the pot, along with the Half & Half. Return everything to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out as much as you can of the vegetables and pumpkin and squash, and liquefy it.  I used an immersion blender.  Return the liquefied veggies to the pot.  Blend to your desired consistency.  When everything is smooth and heated through, taste and add salt, cinnamon, pepper and ground ginger as needed.

This recipe is taken, but adjusted, from the blog From Ketchup to Chutney.  She used Buttercup squash.  Au Bon Pain uses Kombocha.

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