Crock It! Pumpkin Tomato Bacon Soup

By on October 3, 2014

MyVeronaNJ-Pumpkins

It’s Oktoberfest MyVeronaNJ style! That’s right, we’re embracing everything pumpkin for the month and sharing with our readers. Every Friday we’ll post a recipe and we plan to keep things active, interesting–and delicious. So get ready to slow cook, roast, bake and eat your pumpkins this fall. If you’re feeling a little unsure of cooking what is normally associated with a jack-o-lantern, remember that pumpkins are a squash by classification and very edible.

A lot of pumpkin-based recipes involve pumpkin purée. It’s easy to make on your own, and I’ve gone as far as preserving mine so it’s always available and contains nothing but pumpkin. If you’re new working with your own pumpkin creations, sugar pumpkins are the ones you want to use for cooking and baking. They are easy enough to find at grocery stores and farmers markets– the ones I used for this recipe I picked up at Cedar Grove Garden Center.

In treating a pumpkin like the squash that it is, I decided to start with a soup. Given that the pumpkin pieces would do well to simmer in a slow cooker, I knew the texture would provide a substantial base and that some of my favorite ingredients, like bacon and tomato, would add flavor.  From there, a little purée-ing to bring it all together made this seem like an easy enough place to start.

The most time consuming part of this recipe is the prep work, but I promise it’s worth it. There are two ways to peel a pumpkin: either cut first and peel, or peel first and then cut. Whichever way you try it, your forearm will get a work out. Be sure to reserve the seeds for baking- they make a great after-school snack or you can garnish your soup with them. Me, I used goat cheese to add a little creaminess and it was delicious.

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MyVeronaNJ-Crock-It!-Pumpkin-Soup

Ingredients:

6-8 slices of bacon, mostly the meat part

1 small onion, diced

6 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 28-ounce can of whole peeled plum tomatoes

3 cups chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Goat cheese to garnish

MyVeronaNJ-Crock-It!-Pumpkins

What’s Next:

Peel and cube pumpkin, reserving seeds if you want to roast them, which I always do.

Place pumpkin in slow cooker.

In a small frying pan, cook the bacon. When crispy, remove bacon and set aside. Drain pan and keep about half of the bacon fat in the pan.

Sautee onions in pan with remaining bacon fat until golden brown. Just before the onions are done, add thyme, salt and pepper and finish cooking. Place cooked onion in slow cooker with pumpkin.

Break up tomatoes with your hands so they are in large chunks. Add broken tomatoes with remaining juice from can to slow cooker.

Add chicken stock to slow cooker.

Stir everything together, cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

When cooking time is done, purée soup in a batches in either a food processor or with an immersion blender. Return to slow cooker to keep warm.

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Just before serving, garnish with reserved bacon pieces and some crumbled goat cheese. Stirring both into soup.

Notes from my experience:

The first time I started this recipe, I tried a shortcut and had to start all over again. DON’T try to cook your bacon and onions at the same time. The bacon won’t cook all the way and you’ll also have to start over again.

This recipe is very family friendly: My daughter even took some (along with bacon pieces) to school for lunch.

If you have leftovers, the soup can be frozen, which I highly recommend for cool fall afternoons.

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One Comment

  1. Linette Mathewson

    October 3, 2014 at 10:39 am

    This soup looks delicious! And the fresh pumpkin is sooo worth the effort. However, cutting up a raw pumpkin is near impossible. I prefer to roast first for 30-45 minutes (fork ready) and then cut into cubes. Simply cut in half (like you would an acorn squash), scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, put flesh side down on a cookie sheet, and roast on 375 degrees. Once ready you can scoop out the soft insides and add in chunks to your soup mixture in your crock pot. Time in the slow cooked may be reduced if you add in this step.

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