This recipe was actually born from an epic fail of one of my earlier experiments in my cooking history. I was *trying* to make a pumpkin infused rice by cooking the rice inside of a pumpkin inside of the oven. It didn’t work.
In an effort to salvage the undercooked pumpkin, and the equally undercooked rice after two+ hours in the oven, this soup emerged from the wreckage. Well, the precursors to this soup, at least.
The end result is a hearty, but not heavy, soup that is a complete and healthy meal-in-one. It is built on a base of caramelized onions and beef broth that create a deeply savory flavor. You will also notice the complete and utter lack of any cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, etc. This is soup, not pie.
Better yet, is the fact that this can be made with the cheap pumpkins sold for making jack-o-lanterns at Halloween every year. In fact, they are superior for this due to their higher moisture and lower sugar content. This is soup, not pie.
If you missed out on the cheap field pumpkins, no worries, the next best type of squash would be acorn squash. They are also more mild flavored and high in moisture content. Prepare them exactly the same way as you would pumpkin, but they should be done in 45-60 minutes. Of course, there is always canned pumpkin, but you may need to add more broth to the soup to thin it appropriately.
Wild Rice and Pumpkin Soup Recipe
- 1 lb. yellow onion, sliced
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup bourbon or whiskey
- 6 cups beef broth
- 6 cups pureed pumpkin, do not strain out any liquid
- 1/2 cup brown rice, preferably a mix of brown and black rice varieties
- 1/4 cup long grain wild rice
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, 5-6 inches long, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 Bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
Put the onions and olive oil in a large stock pot on the stove and turn the heat to high. You are going to caramelize the onions, which means they will be cooked for upwards of 20 minutes or more with regular stirring to prevent the onions from scorching. Add a little more olive oil if they start sticking and turn the heat down if they start to burn. When the onions have turned the color of the bourbon, stir in the pine nuts and allow them to cook for about a minute. Be careful, they can burn quickly.
Add in the raisins and the bourbon or whiskey and stir together. Heat until the liquid is bubbling. Add all the remaining ingredients, bring the liquid just to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and continue to cook for about 45 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked and tender.
Like most soups, allowing it to sit for a while helps improve the flavor, but it is still tasty served right away, too! We enjoy a topping of shredded sharp cheddar cheese or parmesan on ours, so give it a try. This soup freezes well, but will look funny as it defrosts due to the starch from the rice. Don’t worry, it thaws just fine!