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Pumpkin + Apple + Curry + Bacon Soup

October is one of my favorite months of the year - I love the weather, the pumpkin festivals, the Halloween costumes, haunted houses and parties. It's all the fun of the holidays minus the stress. Well, relatively speaking considering I have two little goblins in tow.

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The pumpkin is one of the most ubiquitous and beautiful staples of the season, and while I love displaying and carving them, I don't cook with them nearly enough - until now.

Inspired and armed with this awesome list from Food Network Magazine, I set out to make the perfect pumpkin soup. I did a little test drive on a class full of hungry second graders yesterday for our "Veggie of the Month" lesson (yes, I know it's technically a fruit) and it is definitely a winner!

Now I'll go one better and tell you this recipe was made with CANNED pumpkin! While I love the rich flavor of roasted squash of all varieties, including pumpkins, I don't think it's required for this recipe. Save all that work for dishes where you'll actually appreciate the taste AND the texture.

Pumpkin + Apple + Curry + Bacon Soup

15 oz can pumpkin

4 cups of chicken stock

1 T olive oil

1 large onion diced

1 cup of bacon or pancetta diced

2 large apples peeled and diced

1 garlic clove diced

1 bay leaf

1/2 t pumpkin pie spices

2 T curry powder

4 T maple syrup

Simmer olive oil, onion, bacon, apple and garlic until soft. Add all other ingredients and simmer for at least 45 minutes to meld flavors. Remove bay leaf and blend THOROUGHLY. This is the secret to omitting all the butter and cream in "creamy soups" in my opinion. Return to heat before serving. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds and rosemary, crisp bacon and sauteed apple chunks, creme fraiche or all of the above.

Now, it's on to a fresh take for chili with this recipe from The Kitchn.

Viva la pumpkin!