We owe this cool-weather recipe to North Carolina’s own Sarah Foster of Foster’s Market. Her original recipe calls for butternut squash, but our pumpkin substitution turned out to be a home run!
1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place the pumpkins cut side down in a large baking dish. Add 1 cup water and 1 tbsp olive oil to the dish and roast 35 to 40 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft and tender to the touch.
3. Toss the tomatoes and garlic with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and the vinegar in a baking dish. Roast 30 to 35 minutes or until soft and the skin is slightly shriveled. Let stand until cool enough to handle, and then lightly crush the tomatoes with your hands or a potato masher into small pieces, reserving the liquid. Set aside until ready to use.
4. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook and stir about 10 minutes, until onion is soft and translucent. Add the carrot and celery and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are soft.
5. Add the broth, salt, and pepper and reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes.
6. Remove the pumpkin from its skin by scooping out the flesh with a spoon. Discard the skin and add the flesh to the soup. Simmer about 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
7. Remove from the heat and add the thyme, chives, and sage. Cool slightly, then, working in batches, pour the soup into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and add the tomatoes and their liquid and the orange juice; stir to mix. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Reheat the soup on low if necessary. Serve immediately.