Pumpkins are the epitome of fall and it’s favorite holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Scary faces and pumpkin pies are not the only things that they ‘re good at though. Like a good firefighter great at advancing a hose, don’t forget that they can force a door, stick an IV or clean the bay floor. Pumpkins are so much more then sweet; they can be savory and comforting. 


Now I admit that soup sounds as exciting as, well, cleaning the bay floor. But rest easy friends, this is not your average vegetable soup. The infusion of Chinese Five Spice (cinnamon, anise, cloves, ginger and Szechuan pepper), coconut cream and apple cider vinegar ensure a savory comfort food versus pumpkin pie in a bowl. Enjoy making it early between incidents and warm it up when ready for dinner, it doesn’t get easier then that. Served as a side (think Thanksgiving dinner folks!) or as a pairing with sandwiches for a meal, enjoy this quick and healthy soup to help warm up the crew on a cold fall day.


A few after the fire critiques: ensure that you get pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling. Fell free to roast pumpkins in lieu of canned pumpkins if afforded the time and you want to entertain your rookies (or spouse/kids) with separating seeds from gourd. As the pumpkin is from the can (or in my case, box), the extra step of reducing on the stovetop is worth the effort. Making it early helps the soup come together throughout the day and it’s even better the next shift. Indulge!

Serves 4




Pumpkin Puree (32 ounces)

Veggie Stock (32 ounces)

Carrot (1 cup shredded)

Coconut Cream (½ cup)

Onion (Chopped)

Garlic (clove minced)

Butter (2 Tbs.)

Chinese Five Spice (1 tsp.)

Apple Cider Vinegar (1 ½ Tbsp.)

Honey (1 Tbsp.)

Pepper and Salt




Sour Cream or Crema

Chives (minced)

Hot Sauce




Dutch Oven

Blender (Immersion if available)




Place Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add butter and allow it to slightly brown, about 2-3 minutes Add onion, carrots and Chinese Five Spice and cook until onions are translucent (about 5-8 minutes). Lower heat to medium and add pumpkin and cook to reduce water content (about 10 minutes).  You’ll need to stir on occasion so don’t go anywhere as you’re looking to slightly reduce (remember, we’re reducing moisture and strengthening flavor) and deepen the pumpkin color. Add stock then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and return soup to a simmer. Add cream and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. Reduce to low and allow the flavors to meld together for a minimum of 20 minutes. Carefully transfer the soup to a blender (it’s hot so take care or use an immersion blender if on hand, they’re awesome) and blend till a smooth consistency. Pepper and salt to taste. Consider serving with sour cream or Crema, chives and drops of hot sauce on top. Enjoy.


Stay low, stay safe and stay hungry!