This soup tastes like Fall. It’ll make you close your eyes and picture apple orchards, pumpkin patches, falling leaves, and kids in costumes running down the street for candy. Once Septmeber 1st hits it’s Pumpkin spice everything! People go crazy for it. Me included! The weather here is still hot and really humid but I’m more than ready to decorate for Fall and start eating all the squashes, soups and stews.
This recipe was born because I was asked to be on a local news show to discuss my blog and why I started it, and to demonstrate and share a recipe. I had the hardest time deciding what to cook! Then I let the season guide me and went with pumpkin spice and soup.
This soup has such a wonderful aroma that will fill your house with the scents of Autumn. No need for air freshener, just throw a batch of this soup on the stove and you’re good to go!! When my husband got home he immediately came to the stove and commented how good it smelled in the house. We had guests over for dinner and to try the recipe. It got rave reviews from all the children and adults. It is incredibly delicious! I hardly had enough left to bring the finished product on the show.
I served this soup up with a simple salad. If you can have dairy, freshly grated Parmesan cheese right over the top will make your taste buds do a dance.
A few notes about substitutions and such:
- If you don’t want to use leeks, just use a diced medium yellow onion. Leeks are in the onion family and lend a nice color and milder flavor to the soup but an onion will do just fine.
- You could very easily swap the canned pumpkin for equal amounts of another puréed squash like butternut.
- The bell pepper can be any color, yellow just gave it a nice pop of color in the soup.
- Want to use a different leafy green? Go right ahead! Any kind will do, but spinach has a mild flavor that lets the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with to melt into it and the greens won’t overpower it.
- Use high quality spices for everything you cook but especially a dish like this where the spices really make the dish. The highest quality spices I’ve found are from Primal Palate. They sell organic, non-irradiated spices and blends. The link to buy them is here.
- Don’t skip out on making the Autumn spice blend. The ingredients list may look lengthy but you can easily shorten it by using pumpkin pie spice mix for half of it. Keep this mix on hand and use it for cooking chicken, eggs, lamb, you name it! It’s key to achieving the right flavor profile for this soup.
- Garnish it with pumpkin seeds, Parmesan cheese, lots of bacon, or thinly sliced green onions.
- Not a fan of dark meat? That’s ok just use chicken breasts, but thighs have way more flavor.
- 6 organic chicken thighs, (about 1 1/2 lbs) chopped into bite sized pieces
- 7 slices of uncured bacon cut into small pieces
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 leek, halved and sliced (can substitute a medium yellow onion, diced)
- 2 cans organic pumpkin
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups spinach, large stems removed
- 1/4 cup Autumn Spice Mix
AUTUMN SPICE MIX INGREDIENTS
- 1 TB dried basil
- 1 TB dried thyme
- 1 TB garlic powder
- 1 TB onion powder
- 2 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp dried fennel (not seed)
- *the below ingredients may be subbed for 2 1/2 TB Pumpkin Pie Spice*
- 1 TB cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
1) Place a large stockpot over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until done and remove with a slotted spoon.
2) Add chicken to the same hot pan with bacon grease still in pan. Stirring occasionally, remove with a slotted spoon when chicken is cooked through.
3) Add bell pepper and leeks to the same pan with the bacon and chicken grease. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized
4) Add chicken back to the pan. Sprinkle spice mix over the top and stir constantly letting the herbs and spices become fragrant. Let cook for about a minute then add 4 cups of the broth.
5) Add in both cans of pumpkin, stirring gently until mixed in. Then add remaining 4 cups broth. Allow to come to a boil.
6) Add spinach a handful at a time, stirring with each addition. Let cook until spinach has wilted, about 3-5 minutes.
7) Serve with bacon sprinkled over the top. Can also serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and/or pumpkin seeds.