HEATHER's FALL HARVEST PUMPKIN SOUP
1 pie pumpkin, about 3 lbs
2 medium or 3 small white turnips
1 or 2 fennel bulbs
3 cloves garlic
3 Tbs olive oil
1 qt chicken or vegetable broth
1 qt water, as needed
Fresh or dried herbs to taste: thyme, sage, parsley, fennel greens
Pinch or red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350; cut pumpkin in half, place in baking pan cut side down, add 2 inches water. Bake until tender, about an hour. Cool to handle, discard seeds, scoop out flesh and chop up a bit if it's in large pieces. Set aside for now.
Now you could make a nice vegetable stock with the pumpkin shell, and the parings from the onions, fennel, and turnip. Cover with water in a large stock pot and simmer 15 minutes. While this cooks, you can chop and sautÃ© the vegetables.
Dice the turnip, fennel bulb, and onion. Mince the garlic.
Heat olive oil in large soup pot, add onion, sautÃ© 5 minutes; add the rest of the vegetables and sautÃ© until fragrant and slightly browning. Add the salt, pepper, and seasonings. Stir around a couple of minutes, and then add in the pumpkin. Set a mesh strainer over the pot and very carefully pour in the vegetable stock. Simmer about 30 minutes, adding more stock or water as needed.
This can be a thick chunky soup or a velvety smooth puree, so add as much broth or more water as needed to make the desired consistency. A splash of cider is also lovely. Puree if you wish.
Garnish with fresh snipped parsley/fennel greens and/or some roasted pumpkin seeds.