04 November 2011

Amanda Hesser's Pumpkin Soup with Leeks and White Wine

Amanda Hesser ... trained chef, New York Times food editor/writer noted for her books, The Cook and the Gardener, Cooking For Mr. Latte - A Food Lover's Courtship with Recipes and The Essential New York Times Cookbook, Gourmet Live's #22 of 50 Woman Game-Changers, one half of the team that has given us Food52 - a comprehensive food website/blog that gives readers everything from video 'how-tos' to cooking contests, to recipe archives, to articles on issues within the food industry to spotlight interviews with foodie members of the website, to, to, to ...

Amanda Hesser is a woman who wears many hats. Her breadth of experience, talent at writing, prolific number of books, articles, and columns on food, cooking, and the food business have put her in the company of more than a few prominent publishers, news editors, and food policy makers. She has written on everything from issues driving the cost of a bottle of wine to the dilemma in choosing the essential cookbook, from the foibles of a certain celebrity chef to the process of creating a 'community cookbook' via Food 52 and its readers. She and her partner Merrill Stubbs have published The Food52 Cookbook and continue to build Food52's website, resources, and blog. Enough said ... except ... not bad Amanda! Not bad at all!

I've been reading The Cook And The Gardener and have chosen a fall soup ... a pumpkin soup ... a creamy pumpkin leek soup ... with wine ... and milk and heavy cream ... the kind of soup that will love having a crunchy crusty loaf sliced up and toasted a bit, rubbed with some garlic and drizzled with some olive oil. It's simple and honest and I think, a fitting tribute to Ms. Hesser.

Pumpkin Soup with Leeks and White Wine
a recipe from The Cook and The Gardener


1 large leek, split lengthwise and washed, one outer green blade reserved
2 tbps. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
1 c. dry white wine
1½ lbs. sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
5 c. Autumn stock (poultry based stock with mire poix and herbs and just a touch of tomato flavoring)
kosher salt
½ c. whole milk
½ c. heavy cream

Making the Soup:

1. Slice the split leek into thin half rounds, smash the garlic, and measure the oil into the bottom of a flameproof pot or heavy soup pot.

2. When the oil is hot, add the leeks and garlic and toss them to cover them with the oil. Sweat them for about 4 minutes.

3. While the leeks and garlic work up a sweat, tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves  into a packet wrapped in the reserved leek blade.

4. When the leeks are beginning to become translucent, add the white wine and the herb packet. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook the wine down to about 2 tbsp. - this is the flavour base for the soup.

5. Prepare the pumpkin cubes and measure out the stock. When the leeks and wine have reduced adequately, pour in the stock and add the pumpkin cubes.

6. Bring the stock to a boil and then reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook the pumpkin until it is very soft - about 20 to 25 minutes.

7. Remove the herb packet and whiz the soup with an immersion blender OR remove the soup from the pot and use a counter-top blender to make a smooth soft soup.

8. Return to the soup pot, correct the salt seasoning as necessary, add the milk and cream and warm the soup, but do not boil it.

9. Serve the soup in warm bowls with your favorite garnish. Have warm crusty bread and a glass of white wine to accompany ... enjoy!

Now! On to see what other foodies have created in tribute of Amanda Hesser! Please link to Mary's blog One Perfect Bite to read her post on Amanda Hesser and share her recipe for Butternut Squash Curry ! from there, you can link to many other sites that are also honoring Amanda. We share a recipe honoring one game-changer a week ... come join us on this 50 week blogging challenge ... there's room for more!


  1. Lovely soup Susan. I am so glad you are doing this with me. I will have to make this soon. It is the best time of year for soup. thanks for sharing

  2. What a gorgeous soup. It has great color and I can imagine the flavors it harbors. This was a great choice for this weeks tribute. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

  3. This soup looks so silky smooth and just plain delicious! I'm sure the leeks added wonderful flavor! I loved learning about Amanda Hesser - that's a beautiful picture you found of her too!

  4. I love your presentation, so elegant! I don't think there can ever be enough pumpkin soup recipes around at this time of year. I bet the leeks give it a great flavor.

  5. It sounds delicious and I love your pics!!

  6. I love the idea of the wine with this soup, I think wine, butter and leeks are a combination made in heaven. I really could do with a big bowl of this glorious stuff!

  7. The soup is amazing Susan. I know it is an overused word but it seems to fit.

  8. What a beautiful soup! Butter and leeks are amazing, but I love the addition of wine!

  9. Love this recipe...I have never made mine with leeks or wine. The flavors look perfect!

  10. Thanks everyone for your nice comments! This soup was very good, but not the typical thick and creamy sweet-ish pumpkin squash soup ... it is a thinner soup and the leeks and white wine give it a distinct tang ... when I make it again, I will use a semi-dry white Reisling as I think the leeks need to be helped along with some sweetness (but not too much!).

  11. So delicious. I don't generally cook with leeks because of all the washing that is involved(I'm lazy that way) This soup look worth the effort..

  12. What a beautiful photo of the soup. I never thought of that combination of leek and pumpkin, but now that I see it I think, of course, it's perfect. The sweetness from the leeks balances the the pumpkin.

  13. How lovely! I grew up fairly wary of leeks but am now a huge fan. They work absolute wonders in soup, don't they? Yours looks smooth as silk.

  14. Beautiful presentation; I have never tasted pumpkin soup and you are giving me the urge to try it.


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