In a large soup kettle
Bring ½ C water to a boil
1 celery stick, trimmed and quartered
Allow to cook until celery is tender.
Remove and discard celery.
Add to celery broth over low heat:
6 C chicken broth
4 C plain pumpkin, pureed or canned, mix in thoroughly
Puree in food processor or chop finely and stir into soup base:
½ C sweet onion, cubed
1 ripe peach or cooking apple, seeded or cored, peeled, cut into small pieces
Add to this:
1 TLBS fresh ginger powder
Stir in ¼ tsp each of the following:
smoked sweet paprika
1 TLBS parsley
1 TLBS molasses
1/3 C sugar or 1/4 C pure maple syrup
Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours. The apple and onion need time to cook and the spices need time to meld together with the pumpkin.
Serve hot in soup bowls with a dollop of sour cream.
Optional - top with one of the following:
1 tsp. chopped scallions
a few small sprigs of dill weed
a few mint leaves
a tsp of roasted sunflower seeds
for a subtle effect a sprinkle of finely ground cardamom seed
Serve as an appetizer with hot buttered corn muffins and a glass of chilled Pinot Grigio or other favorite white wine.
Turn this into a light main course by serving it with sharp cheddar cheese on warm Ciabatta bread. And don't forget the white wine.
FOODNOTES: Years ago I learned how to make southern chicken with peaches from a former beau's mother who hailed from Georgia. She made this incredible roast chicken stuffed with peaches. The combination was delicious. When I made it there were plenty of leftovers. I have always enjoyed making soups, so I set to work with the leftovers, making a winter squash soup using a chicken-peach broth with a lot of cut up pieces of chicken. I ground up the peaches, added a few spices. Though I don't recall what spices I used then, it was one of the most memorable soups I've ever made.
I made the above recipes with canned chicken broth and canned puree pumpkin. I read several pumpkin soup recipes, some of which use typical pumpkin pie spices, treating pumpkin more as a fruit. Other recipes treat the soup as a vegetable incorporating more herbal and savory spices. I decided a combination of both would be good, but I conservatively added only a tiny bit of the diverse array of seasonings, with the hopes that the flavorings would be subtle.
I have also seen recipes that call for pears for the fruity element of this soup. Something about adding a little bit of a creamy topping with a sprig of green or one of the other spices really sets this off, both taste-wise and visually. My guest opted for scallions, dill, sunflower seeds and cardamom on top of the sour cream.