For this marvelous soup, choose one of the smaller varieties of sweet, dense-textured, and flavorful pumpkins, rather than the big jack-o’-lantern type. Or you could use any of the good winter squashes, such as butternut, Hubbard, Tahitian, etc.
Yield: Serves 8-10
2 pounds potatoes
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
½ cup fruity white wine
1½ pounds peeled, cubed pumpkin, or cups cooked pumpkin purée
3 large leeks, white part only (1½ pounds trimmed weight)
1½ tablespoons butter
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar, more or less
White pepper to taste
¼–½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
½ cup cream
Peel and dice the potatoes and put them in a large soup pot with the water, salt, and wine. If you are using fresh, cubed pumpkin, add it now. If you are using purée, wait. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, trim, clean, and slice the leeks, and cook them in the butter over a medium flame, stirring often, until they are soft and beginning to color. Add the leeks to the potato mixture, and continue simmering until the vegetables are all very soft—about 45 minutes total cooking time.
Add the vegetable broth, and the pumpkin purée if that’s what you’re using, and purée the mixture in batches in a blender or food processor until perfectly smooth. Return the purée to the soup pot and season to taste with the lemon juice, sugar, additional salt, and white pepper. How much sugar you need will depend on the variety of pumpkin or squash used—you may need none. When the sweet-sour balance is correct, add a touch of nutmeg and cinnamon, and stir in the cream. Heat thoroughly and serve, sprinkled with some chopped parsley, cilantro, or chives.
Garnish: coarsely chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or chives