Pumpkin Chipotle Soup


My husband and I built a house a couple years ago. The process was all the things people tell you it will be; fun, creative, exciting, challenging, grey-hair inducing, and an absolute dream come true.

We always wanted to live in the country and in addition to the chaos our three kids create running around we’ve added dogs, chickens, sheep and a couple cows to our ‘farm.’ We welcomed two baby calfs in the middle of last week’s snow storm. It is lovely, loud, sometimes stinky and so fun.

As we planned for our house, the kitchen table took center stage. I wanted a BIG table that would fit the five of us from day to day, as well as any number of family or friends who would find themselves at our home. I wanted that table to be the heartbeat of our home and the center of all our activity.

My husband Aaron, always up for a do-it-yourself project, built our dream table. He used reclaimed barn wood and a friend welded a metal base. Over 9 feet long with two matching benches, the table easily sits 12 but we’ve crowded almost 20 around it a time or two. Aaron spent countless hours working on that table, standing in the cold garage most nights; sanding, staining and lacquering the table.

This pumpkin soup is a long-time family favorite. I lightened it up a little from the original recipe as I’ve tweaked and made it my own. I hope you’ll do the same in your own kitchen. This recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and savory, creamy with a touch of heat, hearty but light. A loaf of warm bread and a glass of wine are all you need to complete the meal.

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup with Chicken and Barley (recipe adapted from the blog, Life in Grace)

·         1 medium yellow onion, diced

·         3 carrots, washed and diced

·         3 stalks celery, washed and diced

·         3 cloves of garlic, finely diced

·         1 tablespoon olive oil

·         1 tablespoon butter

·         1 14oz. can pure pumpkin puree

·         3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed (I use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)

·         1 to 2 teaspoons chipotle pepper in adobo, seeds removed and diced finely (adjust to your preference)

·         1 cup barley

·         2 boxes organic low-sodium chicken broth

·         2 tablespoons honey

·         ½ teaspoon ginger

·         ½ teaspoon nutmeg

·         ½ teaspoon cinnamon

·         ½ tablespoon salt (divided)

·         1 teaspoon ground pepper

·         ¾ cup to 1 cup low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt

In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrots and celery and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are translucent and the carrots and celery begin to soften. Stir in garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Salt and pepper the vegetables mixture. Add the chicken stock, pumpkin puree, chicken and chipotle pepper. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in the barley, honey and spices (salt and pepper the soup again) and cook for 30 minutes or until the barley is plump and tender. Turn the heat off and allow the soup to cool. When soup has cooled slightly, stir in sour cream. (This is important, if you stir the sour cream in before the soup has cooled, it will curdle. The soup will taste fine but it won’t look nearly as appetizing.)

To serve, warm the soup back up on the stove over low heat. Ladle into bowls and serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg.