In large soup pot, saute onion in butter for 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes; simmer gently for 5 to 6 minutes or til tomatoes becomes lightly mushy. In another pan, simmer carrots in 2 1/2 cups chicken broth til soft. Mix cooked carrots, hot broth and pumpkin a blender or food processor; purée til smooth, adding the remaining 1 1/4 cups chicken stock as needed to achieve a thin creamy consistency. Add pumpkin mixture to onions and tomatoes in soup pot. Season with salt and pepper, sugar and basil. Fold in heavy cream. Heat to serving temperature but do not boil. Pour soup into tureen. Top with grated Swiss cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds or croutons if desired.
Note: to toast pumpkin seeds, rub a little vegetable oil on your hands, then rub 1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds in hands to coat seeds lightly with oil. Put seeds on cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 375 oven for 15 minutes, shaking pan occasionally. Season seeds with salt and curry powder to taste. Toss to mix well. Bake another 5 minutes or til crisp and golden brown.
Notes from the cookbook: Prior to judging a cooking contest sponsored by our newspaper several years ago, I never once had considered the pumpkin as anything other than a sculptural medium for Halloween and the stuff of Thanksgiving pies and breads. This soup recipe was submitted in that contest by a woman who said that she got the recipe while visiting Ottawa, Canada, where it is a popular autumn dish. I was a little skeptical about the combination of ingredients til I tasted it. I have been serving it ever since. I have since found other pumpkin soup recipe but none of them has come close to matching this one for flavor and ease or preparation I especially enjoy serving it for company in a hollowed out cooked pumpkin “tureen”.
Sara Anne Corrigan, Food Editor, The Evansville Press, Evansville, IN.