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Learn how to make a Traditional French Pumpkin Soup with this seventeenth-century heirloom recipe. This rich, creamy soup is easy to make and makes a delightful meal served with toasted baguette slices.

Watch the How to Make a Traditional French Pumpkin Soup – 17th Century Heirloom Recipe video

Cinderella French Pumpkin Soup

If you have never had a real pumpkin soup, you are in for a treat! You will be amazed at how easy this recipe is, even when you start with a whole fresh pumpkin. And that is the secret of this delicious soup!

This pumpkin soup recipe starts with a fresh heirloom pumpkin, often nicknamed the Cinderella Pumpkin. These heirloom pumpkins are not hard to find, and chances are your local grocery store has a wide selection to choose from.

This soup was originally made from a pumpkin called a Rouge Vif D’Etampes, and the pumpkin’s name loosely translates to lively red or vivid red due to the color of the pumpkin’s skin. Etampes is simply the town in France where these pumpkins were first grown.

Don’t worry if you can’t find a Rouge Vif d’Etampes pumpkin. I certainly couldn’t in central Texas. But as I mentioned above, all you need to do is track down any pumpkin described as a Cinderella pumpkin or even a fairytale pumpkin. Those are quite plentiful since many people love decorating with them. (And please don’t limit them to decorations. They make some of the best pumpkin soup you will ever enjoy!)

17th Century French Pumpkin Soup

What makes this soup so special is that it was originally developed back in the Seventeenth Century—1651, to be exact! And it is still being made in a similar way today. That is a testament to its enduring deliciousness.

In 1651, Francoise Pierre, otherwise known by his nom-de-plume (pen name) La Varrenne, wrote a cookbook titled Le Cusinier Francois. In this cookbook, Monsieur Pierre shared three recipes for pumpkin soup, one of which I share with you today.

Once his cookbook was translated into English in 1653, his pumpkin soup recipes became very popular in England and remain popular to this day! And once you taste this soup, you will understand why.

Learn more with La Varenne Writes the Founding Text of Modern French Cuisine.

The History of Pumpkins

If you have wondered where pumpkins originated, you will find it fascinating to learn that archeologists discovered pumpkin seeds in Northern Mexico. Using carbon dating, scientists determined that the pumpkin seeds probably dated back to approximately 7000 BC!

Over time, through exploration and trade, pumpkin seeds made their way around the world, even to Europe. That’s why we see this tasty French pumpkin soup recipe that was created back in the seventeenth century and is still made to this day!

Learn more about pumpkins with this article from the University of California, 10 things you probably didn’t know about pumpkins. (Did you know that the entire pumpkin, from the skin to the pulp and seeds, is edible?)

Ingredients to Make Traditional French Pumpkin Soup

Find the full printable recipe with ingredients below.

Chances are, once you source your pumpkin, you most likely have these ingredients on hand:

  • 5-6 lb Cinderella pumpkin or other heirloom variety
  • 8 cups chicken broth or chicken bone broth (Learn How to Make Chicken Bone Broth for Pennies a Jar.)
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • Nutmeg
  • Fresh herbs – rosemary, sage, thyme
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make French Pumpkin Soup

Find the full printable recipe with measurements below.

Prepare the Pumpkin

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel away the outer rind.
  3. Cut the halves into one to two-inch slices and then cut each slice into one-inch cubes.

Prepare the Pumpkin Soup

  1. Sauté the leeks, onion, minced sage, thyme springs, rosemary sprig, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Add the pumpkin cubes and the chicken broth or bone broth and bring to a boil. Then, immediately reduce the heat to a medium simmer.
  3. Cover and Simmer the soup pot and allow the soup to simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Turn Off the Heat once the pumpkin is tender, and remove the the rosemary sprig and remaining thyme stems. (The leaves from the thyme sprigs should have fallen off, and all that should remain are the thyme stems. If not, allow the thyme to cool, and then gently pull off the leaves and add them to the soup. See the recipe video.)
  5. Purée the soup using an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, allow the soup to cool slightly, purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor, and then return the soup to the soup pot.
  6. Add Butter to the soup and stir the soup as the butter melts.
  7. Pour Cream into the soup and stir.
  8. Add Freshly Grated Nutmeg to the soup (no more than 1/8th of a teaspoon).
  9. Taste the Soup: then add additional salt, if desired. You may also add a few twists of freshly grated black pepper, if desired.

Variations

I highly recommend making this soup as is, at least for the first time. You’ll want to capture that special flavor and smoothness of the original pumpkin soup recipe.

After that, you can experiment with different herbs or spices. You can even choose a different pumpkin variety, such as sugar pumpkins, to make this recipe.

As I show you in my pumpkin soup recipe video, you may also want to toast some baguette slices to enjoy with your soup.

Recipe Tips

Be sure to save your kitchen scraps, like leek and onion scraps. You can put them into a scrap bag that you use to make bone broth. Or, you can save the leafy green part of leek to make a delicious leek green and pasta meal recipe that’s part of my Cooking with Scraps video series:

Storing and Reheating

Store your leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for four days. You can also freeze your pumpkin soup in a freezer-proof container. Your frozen soup is best consumed within three months.

More Pumpkin Recipes

You can also use pumpkins to make delicious pumpkin pies for your fall or holiday tables. (You probably already knew this. 😉)

I’ll also show you how to make a Pumpkin Pie Spice and Apple Pie Spice seasoning blend as part of my How to Make Homemade Seasoning Blends video.

More Thanksgiving Recipes

See all →

Turkey Neck Pot-au-Feu Recipe

Surprise yourself and your family and friends with this easy and memorable French Pot-au-Feu recipe made with turkey necks.

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And if you’re looking for a printed book full of my traditional foods recipes that shows you how to create a traditional foods kitchen, be sure to order your copy of my new book, The Modern Pioneer Cookbook.

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Traditional French Pumpkin Soup Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Learn how to make a Traditional French Pumpkin Soup with this seventeenth-century heirloom recipe. This rich, creamy soup is easy to make and makes a delightful meal served with toasted baguette slices.

Equipment

  • 1 Large Soup Pot
  • 1 Immersion Blender optional

Ingredients

  • 5-6 lb Cinderella pumpkin or other heirloom variety
  • 8 cups Chicken broth or chicken bone broth
  • 2 Leeks White and light green parts only, cleaned and rough chopped
  • 1 Yellow onion, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1/3 cup Heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs Butter
  • 2 Tbs Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 2 sprigs Fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig Fresh rosemary
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions 

  • Using a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel away the outer rind.
  • Cut the halves into one to two-inch slices and then cut each slice into one-inch cubes.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat.
  • Add the leeks, onion, minced sage, thyme springs, rosemary sprig, and 1 teaspoon salt and sauté until the leeks and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the pumpkin cubes and the chicken broth or bone broth and bring to a boil. Then, immediately reduce the heat to a medium simmer.
  • Cover the soup pot and allow the soup to simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  • Once the pumpkin is tender, turn off the heat and remove the rosemary sprig and remaining thyme stems. (The leaves from the thyme sprigs should have fallen off, and all that should remain are the thyme stems. If not, allow the thyme to cool and then gently pull off the leaves and add them to the soup.)
  • Purée the soup using an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, allow the soup to cool slightly, purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor, and then return the soup to the soup pot.
  • Add the butter to the soup and stir the soup as the butter melts.
  • Pour the cream into the soup and stir.
  • Add a bit of freshly grated nutmeg, no more than 1/8th of a teaspoon.
  • Taste the soup and add additional salt if desired.
  • You may also add a few twists of freshly grated black pepper if desired.
  • Serve immediately with optional toasted baguette slices.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The soup will stay fresh for approximately 4 days. You can also freeze the soup in a freezer-proof container. Your frozen soup is best consumed within 3 months.

Video

Notes

Find this recipe and video at https://marysnest.com/how-to-make-a-traditional-french-pumpkin-soup/
Copyright © 2023 Mary’s Nest, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Nutrition

Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 964mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 24134IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Soups, Soups & Stews
Cuisine: French
Calories: 74
Keyword: Pumpkin Soup, Soup
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