Smoky Pumpkin Soup

Smoky Pumpkin Soup

I was asked recently about how to use leftover pumpkins from Halloween. I think a rich soup is a great way to use them up. The soup actually has a lot more than just pumpkin in it. A mix of veggies, simmered with smoky ham, then pureed and finished with half and half, the soup is creamy and full of flavor. It makes a big batch, but freezes well so you can have some whenever you want.

Smoky Pumpkin Soup

2 qts. Water 

2 lbs. uncooked smoked turkey on the bone, or a ham bone with lots of meat 

2 onions, peeled and halved 

3-4 large carrots, peeled and chunked 

1 cauliflower, cut into flowerets 

2-3 ribs celery, sliced 

1-2 sweet red peppers, seeded and cut up 

1 can (about 14.5 oz.), tomatoes 

6 c. cubed pumpkin or winter squash (you can use 3-4 sweet potatoes instead) 

1 qt. half and half 

2 T. Italian seasoning (I use Tuscan, recipe follows        

salt and pepper to taste, plus a healthy dash of hot sauce 

Place all ingredients, except half and half and seasonings, in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender and meat is cooked and tender, at least 1½ hours and up to 3 hours. Remove meat to cool and add half and half and herbs. Use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables. It does not have to be completely smooth, but it should be close. Adjust seasonings if needed. Cut the meat off the bones and return meat to the chowder. Serves 10+.
Note: I make it in even larger batches because this chowder freezes well. You can add other vegetables like corn, potatoes, green beans or whatever else you have around. I often add cabbage and zucchini. If you want thicker chowder add a potato or two to the recipe. You can also add smoked sausage, if you like. Just remove the sausage, puree the chowder, slice sausage and return to the pot. I also use leftover chicken or turkey and just add a little liquid smoke for another way to get the smoky flavor. This is also a good way to use up a ham bone or leftover ham or turkey ham.

Tuscan Seasoning

½ c. dried basil
½ c. dried oregano
½ c. dried marjoram
3 T. dried minced onion
2 T. dried minced garlic
2 T. dried rosemary
2 T. dried parsley
1 t. crushed red pepper

Use this blend in tomato sauce or other Italian dishes. Also, you can add to vinegar and oil with a little salt, if desired, to make a quick salad dressing.

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