Dogfish Head’s Pumpkin Soup (nearly)

For our anniversary this year, Elliot and I went on a road trip to Philadelphia. It’s one of my favorite cities — about an hour south of where I grew up and just feels homey to me. We had a blast staying in Old City, going to South Street, having a cheesesteak, seeing the Dead Sea scrolls at the Franklin Institute. It was wonderful.

But possibly the best part of our trip (well, second only to our incredible meal at Butcher and Singer) happened on the first day, before we even got to Philly. We went to Rehobeth Beach in Delaware, and ate at Dogfish Head’s brewpub. It was magical. The most magical bit was their pumpkin soup with goat cheese. I don’t think it is at all good for you.

I found a recipe online that claims to be the exact recipe. I made their version on Friday night and it was way too sweet. It was like eating spiced pumpkin pie filling. The recipe I found called for one whole cup of sugar and one whole quart of cream. So I made another batch on Saturday (with almost no sugar) and combined it with the batch from Friday night, and it was much more like the soup we had in Delaware. The consistency was creamy but not overly rich, sweet but not saccharin, and thick and filling.

1 stick butter
4 of 5 stalks celery, chopped
4 or 5 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 pint Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
1 15oz can of pumpkin
1 cup water (mix with pumpkin)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2t cinnamon
1/2t nutmeg
1/2t chili powder
1/2t cayenne powder (omit if you don’t like a kick)
3/4 cup heavy cream (or less, your choice)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh goat cheese to garnish (also could use bacon if you like)

1. In a 4-5 quart pot, melt butter and saute celery, carrots, and onion until the onion is translucent and the carrots and celery are soft.

2. Add the beer, and stir to combine. Make sure to scrape up any tasty browned bits of butter or veggies that are stuck to the pot. Then add the sugar, spices, and pumpkin/water mixture. Stir well, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Slowly add the heavy cream, stirring all the while. Using an immersion blender (or working in batches with a traditional blender), blend the soup until smooth.

4. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with goat cheese. Makes 10 or so servings.