Pumpkin and Chorizo Soup

14 Jan


I figure it’s safe to post a pumpkin recipe now. For a while there (all of October and November) I thought I was going to drown in pumpkin-flavored products. Is it just me, or are they becoming more and more prominent every year? Regardless, pumpkin soup is a hearty, warming way to enjoy the cold months of fall and winter, and I didn’t want to let spring hit me before sharing this recipe.

Like many foods we enjoy today, pumpkins are a product of the New World, and entered Europe in the 15th century. Most foods introduced during that time took a while to gain momentum in Europe – sometimes hundreds of years – but not the pumpkin. Because they resembled gourds and squashes common in the Old World, pumpkins were readily adopted and prized for their robust flavor and easy cultivation. It was quickly made into various soups, and mixed with honey and spices as early as the 17th century – a precursor to pumpkin pie.

For today’s recipe I wanted to keep pumpkin closer to its place of origin – North America – so I decided to focus on a Mexican soup commonly referred to as Sopa de Calabaza, often flavored with cumin and chorizo sausage. I really like the cyclical nature of this dish. Cumin was first cultivated in India and introduced to the Americas by the Portuguese and Spanish. Chorizo is the best of both worlds: Old World sausage flavored with paprika made by New World peppers, and later re-introduced to the Americas. So this dish is the product of the unique culinary marriage of these two continents and cultures.

While pre-roasting a whole pumpkin inevitably lends more depth of flavor, using canned pumpkin puree drastically cuts down on your cooking time and effectively turns this dish into a 30-minute meal.


Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano (regular/Mediterranean oregano okay)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 15oz cans pumpkin puree
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 lb fresh ground chorizo sausage
salt and black pepper to taste (about 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper)
fresh cilantro to garnish, chopped

For this recipe I used bison chorizo sausage, newly stocked from US Wellness Meats, which was a little more lean than your typical pork chorizo and had a deep, robust flavor. Any other chorizo will do fine! Along those same lines, Mexican oregano is different from the oregano most commonly found in supermarkets, and has a bit of a lemon taste to it. Again, regular oregano will do fine, but if you have both, I’d use the Mexican variety.

1. Warm the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or dutch oven on medium heat for one minute. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the pumpkin puree and chicken broth, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes to allow flavors to marry.

3. As the soup simmers, sauté the chorizo in a separate pan over medium heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes, then set aside.

4. Blend the soup until smooth and return to the skillet (alternatively, use an immersion blender). It should be thick but not overly so (think tomato or split pea soup) – if it’s too thick, add a little water. Stir in almost all of the chorizo, then season to taste. Divide the soup into 4 bowls and scatter with chopped cilantro and the reserved chorizo, then serve.

46 Responses to “Pumpkin and Chorizo Soup”

  1. myfoodeeblog January 14, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    oh man, this looks so nice

  2. allpa January 14, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    This looks awesome. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks so much!

    • Russ Crandall January 14, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

      Thanks allpa! Let me know if you try it, and what you think!

      • allpa February 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

        Made this tonight. Whole family loved it! Didn’t change a thing. Thank you!!

  3. Nancy January 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    This soup looks delicious! Perfect timing too – as the “pumpkin overload” has finally subsided :)

    • Russ Crandall January 14, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

      Nancy, I agree–I’m finally able to stomach them again! :)

  4. Naz (@CinnamonEats) January 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    This looks delicious! I LOVE pumpkin soup!

  5. bigjewonadiet January 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    I’m making this tonight!

  6. Wild Heidi January 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Wow! I don’t like pumpkin, but this way is delicious!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Russ Crandall January 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks Heidi! I’m the same, not a big fan of pumpkin other than in a soup (or pumpkin seeds). But this one definitely hit the spot!

  7. Amanda January 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    What a great soup. I love all things Spanish/Latin and local. Plus cumin….This looks fab! Muy bien hecho!

  8. Jen January 14, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Oooo, this looks and sounds delicious. My husband loves chorizo, too, so it’s bound to be a hit!

  9. Vine Vampire January 15, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    Looks fantastic! I hope i can find pumpkin and do it this saturday <3

    • Russ Crandall January 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

      Sweet, let me know how it turns out! Thanks!

      • Vine Vampire January 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

        I will, i can´t wait to taste it, looks fantastic <3 keep posting, your blog is awesome ;)

  10. Amanda January 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    Made this today for lunch. OMG. Delicious! I love chorizo and this hit the spot on a snowy afternoon. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Russ Crandall January 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

      Amanda, awesome to hear! I think you’re the first person to report back, thanks for letting me know!

  11. itsadrenalynne January 17, 2014 at 2:25 am #

    I love pumpkin! Do you have a pumpkin curry recipe? (Thai)

  12. Adam January 17, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    I love the color, and it sounds delicious!

  13. hboy0312 January 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    great, im gonna try this out

  14. Connor January 19, 2014 at 1:25 am #

    This is definitely something I have to try…I love both chorizo and pumpkin! It definitely feels like pumpkin products (especially pumpkin spice things) were all over the place this past fall.

  15. Erin E. January 24, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    I love all savory things pumpkin! Pumpkin pie/muffins/ice cream don’t cut it for me, but this is beautiful and right up my alley. We actually have venison chorizo in the fridge, as well as a can of pumpkin puree, I can’t wait to whip this up to combat all the “polar vortex” mess we’re getting right now.

    • Russ Crandall January 24, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

      Sweet! Yes, it is freakishly cold in Baltimore right now.

  16. gastronomiette January 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    I’m always trying to put a spin on pumpkin soup – I’ve tried adding ginger, fish sauce, sriracha, cumin, carmelized onions… you name it. But CHORIZO is sooo genius. God I need to make this soon.

  17. joannabanana21 February 3, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    can’t wait to try this!! i am going to see some packaged sausages just because i can never find loose sausage where i am.

    • joannabanana21 February 22, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

      Loved this!! I added some chopped avocado on top since mine was a little spicy. The cilantro was a perfect and necessary touch!

  18. brewmasterkyle February 24, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    Wow! I just made this, and it’s AMAZING. Thanks for the recipe… I love your site!

  19. Grace October 5, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    I have so much pumpkin.. this would be so easy to adapt and looks so tasty!

  20. Susan October 19, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    I made this with kabocha squash instead of pumpkin and it is amazing! Kept everything else the same. Thanks for sharing this recipe. It’s so unbelievably creamy without any cream or butter :)

  21. Donna November 5, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Waah!…I am stumped as to what to use here in France for fresh chorizo…Would merguez sausage possibly work..or?!…Dried/cooked chorizo is quite easily obtained…Any substitution suggestions? Thank you in advance for any enlightenment!…This soup simply beckons with the fall weather finally upon us! Merci bien!

    • Russ Crandall November 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      Donna, any fresh (not pre-cooked) sausage would work well – merguez should be fine. Good luck!

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