Pumpkin Soup

         "Pumpkin Week" continues here at Derek's Kitchen with another quick and easy recipe using roasted pumpkin. The soup is inspired by the squash soup I recently had at Laurence Restaurant in Montreal. I liked the texture of the thick chunks of squash in the rich broth. The bacon and the smoked paprika give the soup a nice earthy, smoky flavor. Once you have your pumpkin roasted and cubed, this soup literally takes minutes to put together. You can sit and relax while the soup simmers away on the stove and fills your home with wonderful fall aromas. Like most soups, this one benefits from a night or two in the fridge to let the flavors marry, so if you are going to be having guests over this Thanksgiving you can make this soup a day ahead and have one less thing to worry about on the big day. For this recipe I recommend going to the butcher to get "slab bacon" (bacon that hasn't already been sliced) so that you can cut it yourself into thick pieces (lardons) but regular bacon will also do just fine.

Prep time 10 minutes, cooking time 30 minutes. Serves 6

 500ml  roasted pumpkin, cubed (2 cups)
 100ml onions, diced (1/2 cup)
     2     cloves garlic, thinly sliced
150g   bacon
     1L   chicken stock
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1/2 tbs smoked paprika

1.  Cut the bacon into 1/2 cm (1/4") slices. Cut each slice into 1/2cm lardons. Fry the lardons in a 2L sauce pot until golden brown. Add the onions and cook until just starting to color. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Strain and discard excess fat.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 30 minutes. If the soup becomes too thick, add water to thin it out. Season with salt & pepper. Serve right away or keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.