Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup

We recently took our former foster kids to their school’s fall festival. From a bouncy house and games with prizes to a bonafide hay ride—even candy corn and some great prize drawings—the PTO had put together one fine fundraising festival. One of my favorite memories from last year was the school fall festival, so it was sweet to do a repeat, and to meet their new teachers and friends. It was something to be thankful for as Thanksgiving approached. Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup is another.

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Family, Flexibility and Flavor

For my husband and me, Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, family gatherings, and traditions. With a blended family, it can be challenging to bring people together and honor disparate traditions. We focus on our priority: quality time together. And while tradition is apparent in our Thanksgiving celebrations, it seems each year is different somehow. 

First, in keeping with a goal of quality time, we flex the day we celebrate Thanksgiving every other year rather than split the day apart. Dear sweet hubby and his ex trade off Thursday every other year (with some rare exceptions). Honoring traditions centers on food that means “Thanksgiving” to each of us. My stepdaughters always make their Mom’s cranberry sauce. My stepson wants green bean casserole.  My husband wants pumpkin pie and turkey. Me? Something with potatoes, please. Everything else on the menu can change. It works well. 

Last year was unique because we did a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday for our foster kids and one on Friday for our daughters. It was also our first Thanksgiving with a child unable to come home for the holiday. This year was also a bit unique … we held our first Wednesday Thanksgiving and we also served a meal on Thursday with a guest. After preparing multiple meals for mostly young children the last couple of years, it was nice to put together two meals geared for adults. This is also the first year I served my new recipe—Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup. 

About Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup

The secret to this soup’s creamy texture is buttermilk. Did you know that buttermilk has fewer calories than regular dairy milk and is packed with nutrition? It lasts longer, too. It’s easier for lactose intolerant people to digest. It moistens cakes made with regular flour, and it makes smoothies super creamy.  Since learning about all of the benefits of buttermilk, I’ve made it a staple in our house. Don’t want to keep buttermilk in the fridge? You can buy powdered buttermilk or make a substitute. 

As a young adult in Florida, a self-proclaimed “country boy” acquaintance once told me, “You make my heart go pitty pat like buttermilk.” He never clarified what this phrase meant, but I can tell you that this buttermilk-based soup made my husband’s heart go pitty pat for more. In fact, he asked me to make this soup instead of his all-time Thanksgiving  favorite, pumpkin pie.

If you already know how much my husband loves hot food, you know the heat of this soup beat out the sweet of that pie. I used a blend of ground hot banana, Serrano, cayenne and habanero peppers. Cayenne will work fine alone if you don’t have other hot pepper handy. If you don’t like spicy, try substituting the hot pepper with paprika.

If you need to use a dairy substitute, try a plain nut milk instead of buttermilk and add some xanthan gum to thicken the soup and a little vinegar to mimic the sour of buttermilk (please note I have not tested this). This recipe does not call for salt. If the ingredients you use are low sodium, you’ve got a low sodium dish. You can easily double the recipe for larger groups. 

Not Just for Thanksgiving

Of course, this soup is for more than Thanksgiving. I have a feeling we’ll be eating it often through fall and winter. For my test batch, we ate the soup plain and with a little shredded cheddar sprinkled on it. Both were great. I think it would be amazing paired with a coconut or garlic naan.

If you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope you had a wonderful holiday. We certainly enjoyed ours. My husband and I will be eating leftovers for a while yet. I’m working on creative uses of said leftovers, and I’ll share any winning ideas in an upcoming post.

“Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants.”

—Kevin James
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Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup is a smooth, spicy and aromatic dish that pairs well with salads and sandwiches, naan, or corn muffins. Serve as an appetizer or side dish with a meal.
Course Soup
Cuisine Fusion
Keyword broccoli soup, buttermilk, pumpkin, pumpkin curried soup, quick and easy, vegan option, vegetarian
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Author Lisa Kamolnick / Food Passages

Ingredients

  • 2 C pumpkin purée plain
  • 2 C buttermilk
  • ¼ C brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP red curry paste
  • 1 TBSP curry powder
  • 1 TBSP ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 to 2 tsp ground hot pepper blend or cayenne
  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • tsp cinnamon
  • pinch cardamom
  • pinch mace
  • pinch nutmeg
  • shredded cheddar cheese or yogurt for topping

Instructions

  • Stir together all ingredients in a 2 qt pot. 
  • Heat on medium then low until heated through, stirring frequently.
  • The soup should have a creamy consistency. Add milk if the soup is too thick for your taste, but avoid making it too soupy.
  • Remove bay leaves before serving.
  • Serve warm with or without a topping.

Notes

Serving Suggestions
For a light meal, serve with a sandwich, naan, salad or corn muffin. Works well as an appetizer or side dish in a larger meal.