Happy Leftover Pumpkin Season!


Editor’s Note: If you’re anything like us, you’re finding this manic Monday particularly difficult, as you sit among a pile of empty candy wrappers and turning-bad pumpkin, wondering how the hell it got to be November already. Fortunately, Alex is on hand with some tips about how to use up all that leftover pumpkin before Thanksgiving rolls around:

As per my seasonal tradition, I got really psyched to make pumpkin cookies a few weeks ago. (Note: butter does NOT work as well as shortening in pumpkin cookies. Disaster.) Under normal circumstances, I would normally have only bought a small can of pumpkin for this endeavor, but presumably because those New Hampshire fall colors just make you want to eat something orange, they were all out of the little cans. So I had to buy the 16-oz. can, but since I was not going to make a hundred cookies, I needed to figure out what else to do with all this leftover canned pumpkin.

Pumpkin bread was the first and most obvious choice, but I wanted to get a little more creative, so to the Internets I went, and ended up with two new pumpkin dishes: curry pumpkin soup (inspired by a recipe at pumpkinnook.com) and pumpkin pizza. Yes, pumpkin pizza.

The pumpkin pizza was regular savory white pizza dough made by Mike, my pizza dough guru friend who fires up the outdoor community oven occasionally and bakes mouth-watering pies (as well as tons of bread to give to a local charity fighting hunger here in NH.)

We subbed in pumpkin puree for the tomato sauce, topped it with goat cheese and baked for a few minutes, until the crust was golden. Depending what other toppings and spices you use, the pumpkin could be a base for a savory or a sweet pizza. The goat cheese worked out for a nice sweeter pizza, although I think gorgonzola might be even better, and I bet some garlic wouldn’t hurt. (When does garlic ever hurt?)

Next up was pumpkin soup:


I took this to my friend Dana’s birthday potluck and it had everyone reeling. (I mean, that could have been partly the booze, but I think it was mostly the soup.) I made some modifications to Pumpkin Nook’s recipe, because seriously, WHO thought that a teaspoon of garlic and a 1/3 cup onion was enough? I ended up with the following:

Curry Pumpkin Soup

1 chopped onion
4 small cloves garlic
1-2 tsp curry powder, depending how much you like curry
2 tbsp butter
1 c pumpkin puree, about 1/2 a small can
nutmeg – I just shook some in until it smelled nice and spicy
1 bay leaf
2 c vegetable broth
1.5 c milk (you could sub cream for part of this if you wanted, but I used 2%)

Pumpkin Nook used 1/8 tsp sugar as well, but I say leave it out; it makes it a bit too sweet. Also in the original was 1 tbsp cornstarch, but I liked it thinner and just reduced a bit. But you could add that too, if it was too thin for your taste.

Cook the onion, garlic and curry powder in the butter until onion is tender. Add the pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg and bay leaf. Stir in the broth and bring everything to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 10-15 mins. Stir in the milk and cook over low heat for about another 5-10 minutes, until it’s somewhat thickened and bubbly.

It DID turn out quite sweet, which was fine for the potluck but a little overwhelming for dinner on its own. So the next day I added some salt and pepper to the leftovers, which I really think brought out the curry flavor, and helped it be more pumpkin-y and less pumpkin-pie-y.

What are you cooking with your leftover pumpkin between Halloween and Thanksgiving?

(Photo: Ehow)

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  • Summer November 2, 2009  

    I love pumpkin curry soup. The version I make uses coconut milk instead of milk or cream. Try that next time… it really makes the soup rich and decadent.

  • gansie November 2, 2009  

    and i bet a little acid would also make this more savory, maybe some lime or vinegar.

    and im loving the pumpkin pizza idea. did you add any herbs? im thinking sage would be great in this.

  • Woman with a Whisk November 2, 2009  

    Pumpkin pizza — love that idea!

  • Adam November 2, 2009  

    A friend of mine made pumpkin pie dip for a dessert at a party once, and I fell in love with it. I’ve since made it for relatives who hate pumpkins, but go crazy for it as well.

  • girliefriend November 2, 2009  

    My friend lynny makes this outstanding pumpkin soup. Excellent as a meal.

    1 can of pure pumpkin… NOT the pie filling
    1 quart of chicken broth
    3 links of turkey sausage.. i use spicy
    2 split chicken breasts.. baked
    3-4 oz cream cheese
    1 splash of light cream
    1 tablespoon curry powder
    1 tablespoon ground sage
    1 tablespoon ground thyme
    these spices are to taste.. i usually use a little more than a tablespoon

    cook the sausage.. smooshin it as it cooks.. so its in little pieces.. i take the skins off before i cook it… then add the pumpkin and the spices…. and stir well…. add the chicken broth.. stir well… and simmer for 30 mins…. add the diced chicken breast… and the cream cheese… let the cream cheese melt…there might be some little white floaters.. this is ok.. its just cream cheese…. add the cream just before serving….


  • gansie November 2, 2009  

    pumpkin pie dip – details!
    and what was the vehicle of choice?

  • David S. Cargo November 2, 2009  

    I track information on community ovens. I would like to know more about the community oven mentioned here. Could you have your friend Mike contact me? Thanks.

  • Harmony November 3, 2009  

    I have almost the exact same pumpkin cookie recipe, with an extra half cup of both flour and sugar, and no chocolate chips. I’ve always used softened butter to make them and they have always been super soft and delicious. Sometimes I make a cream cheese glaze to go on top but they fly off the plate even plain. A family favorite.

  • Breda November 4, 2009  

    Someone brought a baked pumpkin to a potluck dinner I hosted. Basically carve off the top but keep it as a lid and I’m not too sure on quantities/timings but cinnamon, brown sugar and almonds were thrown into the pumpkin and pop the pumpkin into the oven with the lid on for a “long” time and then scoop out the pumpkin and serve as a sweet side…….it was really good!

    Rocket, basil goats cheese and pumpkin pizza was on every single menu in Australia……so along with avocadoes pumpkins were served in every single salad. Basic vegetable soup was always pumpkin based aswell all year round!

  • dad gansie November 5, 2009  

    Sounds all interesting. I’ll figure out what to make
    with he several cans if pumpkin. I’m sure one
    will be the basic pie. I often add choc chips
    and slices if banana

  • Roslee Orndorff October 18, 2011  

    My most recent adventures in using pumpkin puree were as follows. Pumpkin Chile…found the recipe via your 100 ways article. I used double the pumpkin and less broth, heavy use on the chile powder and cumin, then topped it off with 2 cups drained/thawed mild green chiles that were grown here in New Mexico. Very rich and thick and it is definitely a “keeper” recipe! Then I tried pumpkin chicken enchiladas…yum! The pumpkin puree was the main ingredient in the sauce. Next up: pumpkin cornbread!

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