This is a perfectly smooth soup with a delicate pumpkin flavor that is reminiscent of winter squash. Pumpkins intended for cooking should be small (preferably not over 5 pounds) to ensure a sweet flavor and smooth texture. For this soup be sure to use a good-flavored homemade or your favorite store-bought vegetable stock and include a few dashes of cayenne pepper for a hint of spiciness.

SERVES 4 AS A MAIN COURSE

1 small sugar or pie pumpkin (about 2ВЅ pounds)

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium carrot, grated

2 medium onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

ВЅ teaspoon salt

5 cups Vegetable Stock

A few dashes cayenne pepper

1 medium tomato

ВЅ cup sour cream

Additional butter

  1. Slice off the top and bottom of the pumpkin and set it upright. From top to bottom cut off the skin as you would cut off the peel of an orange. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Discard them. Cut the pumpkin into 1ВЅ-inch chunks.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter, then add the carrot, onions, and garlic, and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Add the pumpkin, salt, vegetable stock, and cayenne pepper, cover the pan, and bring to a boil. Drop the whole tomato in for 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon. Peel off the skin and discard it. Cut the tomato in half horizontally, then squeeze out the seeds and discard them. Mince the tomato and add to the soup. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is very tender.
  4. Pure the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until it is very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and whisk in the sour cream. Taste to adjust the seasoning. Serve in bowls with a pat of butter on each serving.