I love cooking with fresh pumpkin, however in most of my recipes, I recommend baking with canned pumpkin because it’s so convenient, and it has a little more intense flavor because it’s not as watery as fresh. In savory recipes, I do tend to favor fresh pumpkin, especially in salads, stews and soups because it gives the right je ne sais quoi.
When cooking with fresh pumpkin, a fresh sweet pumpkin is the best choice because they are specifically grown for cooking. I’ll never forget my first Thanksgiving meal that I made for my family. I carved a huge Jack-o-Lantern style pumpkin into pieces and cooked it up to make the pumpkin soup. Big mistake, it took forever, and the taste could of been a little sweeter with the right pumpkin.
I find the Instant Pot to be the perfect place to steam whole vegetables, especially pumpkins. Cut off the lid, scoop the seeds out, and slice it in half, then it is ready for a giant steam bath to soften its interior into a warm mash. It virtually falls off the skin ready to use.
This soup has simple fresh flavors that are delicate, yet substantial, reminiscent of fall. You can steam your pumpkin the day before and save it in the refrigerator to prepare the soup the next day for dinner, or prepare the soup all at once like I did. A nice warm bowl is divine anytime, but it’s also delicious to serve for the holidays because the Instant Pot keeps it warm, until ready to serve.
1 small sweet pumpkin
1 white onion
1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup pepitas, optional
salt & pepper
1. Slice pumpkin lid off and scoop seeds out from inside cavity. Cut pumpkin in half. Add 1 cup water and rack to Instant Pot. Place pumpkin lid and both sides of pumpkin inside Instant Pot and seal with lid. Press Manual and set to 30 minutes.
2. Dice onion and set aside. Let steam release naturally from Pot. Remove lid and pumpkin, set aside. Remove rack and drain water. Press Sauté on Pot and add 2 teaspoons oil. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, stir. Scrape cooked pumpkin into pot, discarding skin.
3. Add chicken broth and bay leaf, stir to combine. Place lid on top and press Manual and cook for 10 minutes. Release steam immediately and remove lid. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until creamy (or you can puree in blender in batches). Add cream and stir.
4. Add more salt to taste, if necessary then, ladle into bowls. Top with pepitas, Enjoy!