Barsotti’s Mexican Pumpkin & Carrot Soup

Serves 8 to 10

2 medium sugar pumpkins (other varieties OK, but sugar is best)
2 tablespoons butter
2 large leeks, chopped
1 to 2 large red bell peppers, chopped
3 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 cup cilantro
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups Barsotti carrot juice
2 tablespoons Cajun- or Mexican-style seasoning
1 cup masa corn flour
2 tablespoons green Tabasco
16 ounces sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Gut, skin, and chop pumpkins into 1-inch cubes. Boil pumpkin in salted water in large soup pot until soft. Drain water. As an alternative option, you may bake pumpkin to remove skin and soften pumpkin meat.

Melt butter in large pan on medium heat. Add leeks and red pepper; sauté until soft. Add corn and cilantro, then cook 5 minutes.

Add sautéed corn and red peppers to soup pot with pumpkin. Add chicken broth, carrot juice, and Cajun or Mexican seasoning. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove pot from heat and let cool at least 15 minutes. Ladle soup mix into blender and liquefy (immersion blender also will work). Pour each blenderful into separate bowl until all soup is mixed. Mixture will be hot, so be careful not to splash yourself. Pour blended mixture back into soup pot. Bring to low heat.

Add masa corn flour to thicken as needed. Then add Tabasco and sour cream. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Serve in hollowed-out pumpkins or bread bowls (regular bowls are OK, too), garnish with cilantro sprig, and swirl extra sour cream on top for color.

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