Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Pumpkin Soup with Brown Butter and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds #Halloween recipe by @Leslie Karst

With only four days until Halloween, I’m guessing some of us are already worrying about how they’re going to avoid eating all that left over candy, and also what to do with all those pumpkins you carved into Jack O’Lanterns, am I right?

Well, I can’t help you with the first one, but here’s a recipe to help with the second. You may think that cooking with pumpkin is messy and a pain, but it’s actually quite easy—much easier than dealing with butternut squash, which have an incredibly thick skin and make me fear for the loss of my fingers every time I cut one up. (And yes, it’s fine if your pumpkin has been made into a Jack O’Lantern, as long as you take care to remove the candle wax first, and assuming you haven’t kept it so long that it has started to mold.)

And this soup is wondrously delicious!

Pumpkin Soup with Brown Butter and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds


1 medium size pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil
several sprigs oregano or thyme (optional)
1 quart chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2 or whipping cream
1/2 cup sherry
2  tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
sour cream, crème fraiche, or yogurt for garnish


Heat oven to at 350°F.

Start by cutting your pumpkin in half, scooping out all the pyuck, and slicing it into manageable sized pieces. Brush the inside of the pieces with the olive oil, season with S&P, and if you have it on hand, snip a sprig of oregano for each piece:

Lay the pieces face down on a baking sheet, with a sprig of oregano under each piece. (Line it with foil or parchment to ease clean-up; the baked pumpkin can be hard to scrub off.)

Bake until a fork slides into them easily: 40-60 minutes. They should have started to turn brown:

Peel off the skin, discard it and the oregano, and put the pulp into a large pot:

Add the stock (there should be about an equal amount by volume to the pumpkin). I used homemade chicken stock, but feel free to use canned (as long as it's unsalted):

you can see my stock was still frozen

Bring it to a boil, turn down the heat, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

Then let it cool enough to blend. You can do this either in a regular blender, or with one of those “stick” blenders, which is what I have (they are a must-have if you make a lot of soup).

Now you have the basic puréed soup. At this stage you could stop and just season it with S&P. But I chose to add half-and-half, sherry, and a little brown sugar:

Simmer it a little longer (5 min.) to boil the alcohol out of the sherry, and then thin the soup to what you’d like, with either water, stock, or more half-and-half or milk. You can make the soup up to this point a day or two in advance, which I recommend doing, as the flavors will meld better if it’s made ahead.

The secret to really special soups is their garnish. Not only do they make the soups look pretty, but they add interesting flavors and textures to what would otherwise be a one-note-dish. For my pumpkin soup I decided on brown butter and roasted pumpkin seeds.

I was too lazy to roast the seeds from my pumpkin and crack them all open, so I bought some raw ones at the store. The afternoon before my dinner party, I just heated a tablespoon of butter in a cast iron skillet and them tossed the seeds in and let them brown—stirring constantly, as they want to burn—and then sprinkled them with salt:

Brown butter is simply butter which has been slowly heated to the point where the milk solids start to brown. All you do is put a chunk of butter (I used 3 tablespoons) into a heavy skillet,

and let it cook—again, stirring often—until it starts to brown:

it’s hard to see the color here because of the black pan,
but trust me that it’s a nut brown

This should be done soon before service, so the butter doesn’t re-solidify.

To serve the soup, reheat it, and ladle it into the bowls. Then drizzle on the brown butter and sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds. I also added a dollop of my yogurt cheese. Sour cream, crème fraiche, or yogurt could be used instead.

Here’s the finished product:

🌱  🎃  🌿


The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. Putting this early education to good use, she now writes the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 
An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

Leslie’s website
Leslie also blogs with Chicks on the Case
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Such a deal! The Lefty Award-nominated Death al Fresco is a Kindle Deal of the Month, for only $1.99 through the entire month of October! 

Praise for Leslie's most recent Sally Solari mystery, the Lefty Award-nominated MURDER FROM SCRATCH:

“Karst seasons her writing with an accurate insider’s view of restaurant operation, as well as a tenderness in the way she treats family, death and Sally’s reactions to Evelyn’s blindness.”

Ellery Queen Magazine (featured pick)

All four Sally Solari Mysteries are available through AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Bookshop.


Dying for a TasteA Measure of Murder, and Murder from Scratch are also available as AUDIOBOOKS from Audible!


  1. This sounds great, Leslie. I like the addition of sherry and cream!

    1. They're pretty much always a good addition to any dish!

  2. And any other remaining pumpkin can go out for the wild animals to enjoy.
    This sounds quite tasty.