Try this basic, savory soup with pie pumpkin or any other firm-fleshed early winter squash. Adapted from The New York Times.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 large leeks, white parts only, well-rinsed and chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 3 cups cubed pumpkin or winter squash
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup whole milk or half-and-half
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
- Using a heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter, add leeks and sauté over low heat until leeks are tender, but not brown. Stir in garlic.
- Add pumpkin and water, cover, and simmer slowly until pumpkin is tender—35–40 minutes. Let mixture cool for at least 15 minutes, then purée using a food processor, blender, or hand blender.
- Return purée to pot, add milk or cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat to serving temperature and sprinkle each portion with chives just before serving.
Variations: Replace chives with other herbs; good choices include thyme leaves or minced sage. Crisp-fry whole sage leaves in butter and float one or two on each portion. Replace both water and milk with either chicken or vegetable stock.