Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Soup

I made it a priority this autumn to eat as many pumpkin and pumpkin-flavored things as possible. So I compiled a list of recipes, stocked up on organic pumpkin puree and pie pumpkins, and made as many pumpkin treats as I could in a single October.

The recipe I was most excited to try was one I found, I'm not at all embarrassed to say, from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess via The Geeky Chef -- Yeto's Superb Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Soup. I'd never paired pumpkin and goat cheese, but just the thought of doing so made my mouth water. The recipe looked a little bare but also easily modifiable, so I made significant alterations (different cheese, different squash, different spices). It's been delicious every time I've made it.

Ingredients
1 small-to-medium pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1" cubes
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into quarters
4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
½ c. goat cheese, or as desired
1 c. cream (optional)
Fresh basil
¼ c. olive oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Directions
Toss chopped pumpkin, onion, garlic, and olive oil in a mixing bowl until well coated. Spread evenly onto cookie sheet or roasting pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 350ºF for 40 minutes, or until tender.

In a large pot, bring stock to a boil. Add roasted vegetables, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to mash pumpkin. Crumble goat cheese and blend in small increments until melted. Remove stems from basil leaves, slice into thin strips, and stir into soup. Adjust thickness with cream.
 
Notes
The original recipe tells you to put the roast vegetable-broth mixture in a food processor, but I prefer a chunkier, more rustic texture, so I opted to throw everything in the pot and use a potato masher instead. I also made my own chicken broth, which was already infused with spices. When I've made this soup with store-bought stock I've found it needs a flavor boost. Simmering the vegetables for the last 10 minutes or so with ¼ tsp. rubbed sage and ½ tsp. crushed rosemary usually do the trick. It might also be fun to experiment with different flavored goat cheeses, though I haven't tried this yet myself.

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