Aired August 27, 2007
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 sweet onion (Vidalia or Walla Walla, or any white onion) cut into 1/2-inch slices
6 cloves garlic, split lengthwise
1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons grapeseed, canola or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 small red thai or jalapeo pepper, seeded and thinly sliced or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
12 large whole leaves of sage
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Heat 1/4 cup grapeseed, canola or olive oil in a saucepan over high heat until it reaches 350F.
In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin cubes with the olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Spread the pumpkin evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, or until nearly tender when pricked with a fork.
Meanwhile, coat the onion slices and the garlic with the 2 teaspoons of grapeseed oil. When the pumpkin is ready, make room on the baking sheet for the onion and garlic, and return the pan to the oven for about 15 minutes longer, or until the pumpkin and onion are tender. Keep an eye on the garlic and turn, if necessary, to keep it from turning dark. Transfer all the vegetables to a large saucepan.
Add the cardamom, cinnamon, chili and stock to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until the pumpkin cubes begin to dissolve in the liquid.
Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth, working in batches if necessary
Return the blended soup to the saucepan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
Add the sage leaves to the 350F oil and fry for about 1 minute, or until crisp. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, gently remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Reheat the soup gently if necessary -- it should be piping hot when served. Ladle into warm soup bowls and garnish with crispy sage leaves. Serve at once.