We’re halfway through October and I suppose I’m behind on pumpkin season :).
This year, I wanted to think a little outside-the-box for my pumpkin recipes, so I’m going to start with the actual vegetable rather than canned pumpkin (so I guess I’m thinking outside-the-can?). When I was brainstorming ideas of what to make with fresh pumpkin, the winner was one of my favorites – tortilla soup. While it’s traditionally made with chicken, I thought cubes of pumpkin would make a delicious, hearty, comforting soup for fall. Lucky for all of us, I was right.
I got this giant pumpkin from the farmers market last weekend – it’s called a Long Island Cheese pumpkin, because it’s shape resembles a wheel of cheese. It’s similar in flavor to a sugar pie pumpkin and let me tell you it was a beast to cut open. Uhh.. it was a beast that I made Jack cut open. If you can’t find a good fresh pumpkin (or you want something easier to cut), feel free to sub in butternut squash into this recipe.
The base of the soup is made with roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic. These are blended with a dried (and soaked) chipotle pepper, which adds depth and smokiness (see notes below if you can’t find a dried chile), and a corn tortilla, for thickness. It all gets simmered with vegetable broth, pumpkin cubes, and black beans.
Of course, tortilla soup is all about the tortillas… slice the remaining tortillas into strips and bake until crispy. Load up your bowls with the rest of the toppings – crispy radishes, avocado and lime juice. Then dig in!
Pumpkin Tortilla Soup
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 small yellow onion, cut into quarters
- 3 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 dried pasilla, guajillo, or chipotle chile, stemmed and seeded*
- 5 corn tortillas, divided
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- 2½ cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 heaping cups cubed pumpkin or butternut squash
- 1½ cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- Lime slices, for serving
- Freshly ground pepper
- Sliced avocado
- 3 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the whole tomatoes, onions, and garlic on one baking sheet and roast until the skins of the tomatoes and the edges of the onions are charred, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, soak the dried chile in hot water until soft, about 10 minutes.
- In a blender, combine the tomatoes, onion, peeled garlic, 1 torn tortilla, the softened dried chile, salt, and 1 cup of the vegetable broth. Blend until smooth but not entirely pureed.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cumin and oregano and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the blended tomato mixture, 1½ cups additional broth, the cubed pumpkin and the black beans. Simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, reduce the oven heat to 300. Slice the remaining 4 tortillas into thin strips and spread on the second baking sheet. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake until crispy, about 8 to 14 minutes.
- Season the soup to taste with more salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add a bit more broth. If it’s too thin, simmer a while longer until it thickens up. If you prefer the soup more tangy, add a few squeezes of lime.
- Serve the soup with the crispy tortilla strips, avocado, radishes, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime slices. If desired, add a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt to the avocado slices.
*1 to 2 chipotles from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce can be substituted for the dried chile. If you like your soup spicier, add 2 dried chiles instead of 1. Note that all chiles can vary considerably in heat levels.