spicy pumpkin bean soup

I'm not a big fan of pumpkin, carrot or squash soups. I am however a huge fan of  this spicy white chili Kristen Swensson from Cheap, Healthy, Good Blog posted on Serious Eats.  I love the rich chicken broth with the heat of the roasted peppers. Add the creamy beans and some richly flavored cheese? Yum.

You can spice it up even more by substituting a hotter pepper variety and/or by including the seeds. Pablanos are my favorite for a nice, mellow, medium to low heat. Eat a bowl of this after a chilly day outside?  You will be toasty-warm. Add a side of cornbread? If you were a cat you'd be purrrring.

Garnish with olive oil, yogurt or sour cream, or stir in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream, creme fraiche, or grated cheese like gruyere and sprinkle with the fresh parsley.

Ingredients:
3 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 quarts pumpkin juice, chicken or vegetable stock
2 cans white beans, one drained
2 TBS butter, bacon grease or lard
1 leek, washed well, trimmed of stem and dark green parts, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 roasted pablano pepper, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste - I like mine ground coarsely
Small heel of Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Every summer, I roast a bushel of pablanos or other hot peppers and freeze them whole, so the roasted pepper part is as easy as grabbing one individually wrapped pepper from a gallon plastic zip-lock freezer bag.  If you're not so lucky, broil the pepper until the skin begins to blister & blacken, turning with tongs to get it even on all sides. Remove to a paper bag, fold closed and allow to cool. The skin will shrivel and peel easily. Chop your peeled, roased pepper - use the seeds or not depending on your preference. Do wear gloves when chopping hot peppers and avoid touching your face and eyes or I promise, you will be sorry.

Melt the fat in a heavy dutch oven. Sautee onion, pepper, garlic, parsley and leek until softened but not browned. Add the pumpkin juice or stock and puree, beans and toss in the heel from a wedge of Parmesan or Pecorino or other hard, pungent cheese. Let simmer gently - taking care to not burn.  The longer the flavors marry before serving the better.

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