Cajun Pumpkin Soup

11 Aug

Fall is by far my favorite Season. There’s several things I like about Fall, but the biggest charm for me is that all vegetables that remind me of a stormy day in Belgium are in season: parsnips, pumpkins, rutabagas, turnips… And, you get to spice everything warmly because ‘t is the season. Sadly, Southern California has only two seasons. The difference between the two being that in Fall & Winter you may need to take a sweater with you, you know, for when the sun sets… what with temperatures dropping below 65F and all.

Every October, when the last residual heat of September slowly ebbs away, I’m excited to start feeling the crisp chill in the beach air and occasionally hear the sound of rain pounding my apartment’s roof. I confess that I didn’t like rain when I lived in Belgium. Rainy days would turn into soggy weeks, then into months, and eventually you’d start wondering if you should start building an ark and save yourself?! It’s only after several months of dry heat and blistering sun that I learned to appreciate a cool, wet day. Fall in Southern California is bliss. Day time temperatures remain a steady 60F-70F, and evenings get cool enough to cuddle with my beau and sip on spiced wine without risking a hot flash. An added bonus is that with 60F, we can still crack our windows open just a smidgen, and let the earthy smell of the damp beach sand & wet wooden boardwalk permeate our humble home.

It’s on these days that the soup below tastes fantastic. Decades ago, when my brother still lived in Amsterdam and mom & I would drive up for a weekend visit, he would frequently invite us for dinner at a restaurant called ‘The Louisiana Kitchen’, off of the Ceintuurbaan in the heart of the city. At the time, I was already thinking about relocating to the USA and eventually, my brother bought me the Cajun bistro’s cookbook as a parting gift. I’ve since adapted the recipe to my own preference, but the base recipe comes out of the book.

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CAJUN PUMPKIN SOUP
(Adapted from a recipe out of ‘The Louisiana Kitchen’ by Rob Van Berkum & Andre Numan)

– 8 cups of chicken broth
– 35 oz of cubed pumpkin
– 2.5 cups of good quality dry sherry
– 1.5 cups of heavy cream
– 3 large shallots, diced
– 3 ribs of celery, chopped
– 2 Tbsp of Cajun seasoning + more for the shrimp
– a pinch (or two) of cayenne pepper
– a cup of sliced or chopped mushrooms (any kind)
– 1 lbs of large scampi-size shrimp
– 5 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled

Place a large soup pot on the stove over high heat. Add a splash of olive oil, and saute the chopped shallots & celery until translucent and starting to brown. Douse with sherry, and cook for a minute or so to burn off some of the alcohol. Add chicken broth and chopped pumpkin, and bring to a boil. Let simmer until pumpkin is soft and cooked through.

In the meantime, saute sliced mushrooms until browned and cooked through. Set aside.

Cook bacon, drain or pat dry and crumble. Set aside.
Shell & devein shrimp, toss in a bit of olive oil and grill in a 450F oven with a sprinkling of Cajun seasoning until done , approx 10 min.

When pumpkin is soft, blend the soup until smooth and velvety. Add cream, 2 Tbsp of Cajun seasoning, grilled shrimp, bacon and browned mushrooms and warm through in the soup. Season with salt & pepper, and add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper for a bit of heat.

Ladle in soup bowls, sprinkle with a bit of parsley and serve with corn bread.

31 Responses to “Cajun Pumpkin Soup”

  1. Bernadette August 11, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    I think you may have my own pumpkin soup recipe beat! This sounds fabulous!!

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian August 11, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

      Thank you, Bernadette! This is a fabulous pumpkin soup recipe, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

      Like

  2. cecile August 12, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    Ik zal deze soep eens maken deze winter.
    Bedankt
    Moeke

    Like

  3. Betty Taylor September 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    That looks absolutely amazing! I love Cajun things, not so sure about pumpkin soup. Need to try this and see.

    Thanks for linking up with us at the Four Seasons Blog Party!!

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian September 27, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Thank you, Betty. This one has a bit of a sweet smoky flavor. It’s quite different from traditional pumpkin soup and you may like it.😉

      Like

  4. Shawna September 28, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    I have never seen a recipe like this, it is so full of unique flavors. Thank you for sharing it on our Four Seasons Blog Hop

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian September 28, 2013 at 6:23 am #

      Hi Shawna, you’re very welcome! This one is a keeper! So yummy.

      Like

  5. Mary October 12, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    This recipe sounds interesting. Could you use canned pumpkin instead of chopped pumpkin. My aunt gave me 2 quarts of homemade canned pumpkin, and I would like to try this.

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian October 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      Hi Mary, I’ve never true making it with canned pumpkin. Sorry I can’t be of much help with that question.
      I would imagine it may work, but I’m not sure how the flavor would turn out…

      Like

      • Mary October 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

        Thanks for the reply. Maybe I’ll be adventurous and give it a try.

        Like

    • Lesa November 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

      I tried this with canned pumpkin. I think it might be a little thinner using the canned pumpkin, but the taste is excellent. I also added one finely chopped chipotle pepper because we really like the smoky flavor, so it was spicy since I also didn’t cut back on the spices. Lots of complex flavor, very tasty and has eye appeal. Will definitely be making again and again.

      Like

      • thehungrybelgian November 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

        Hurray! Thank you, Lesa. I love that you added chipotle pepper. This would also be great with diced smoked bacon or smoked turkey instead of shrimp.

        Like

  6. Tara October 17, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    That looks so good, I had to come over here and tell you that again!! A must try recipe, thanks for sharing it at our party!!

    Like

  7. John November 1, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Great take on a fall classic! We featured this specialty recipe on our pumpkin soup wrap up article (hope you don’t mind!).

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian November 1, 2013 at 11:17 am #

      Not at all, John. Thanks for sharing it. This one truly is a keeper!

      Like

  8. Heidy L. McCallum March 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    This Pumpkin soup looks awesome! I can’t wait to try it out!

    Like

  9. Chris G June 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    When in the method do you add the 2 Tbsp of Cajun seasoning please?

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian June 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

      Hi Chris! Thank you for catching that oversight! I fixed the recipe. You add a sprinkling of the seasoning onto the shrimp, and 2 Tbsp of seasoning right after you’ve puréed the pumpkin and add the cream etc. Enjoy!

      Like

      • Chris G June 1, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

        another question sorry. Shallots in Australia are the green part of spring onions. Is this what we should be using or should we be using onions?

        Like

      • thehungrybelgian June 1, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

        No problem. Shallots over here, in the US, are small(ish) pink/red somewhat pear-shaped onions. If you can’t find them, you can substitute with red or white onion.

        Like

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