Pumpkin Leek Soup with Crumbled Pancetta, Herbed Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Seeds


  1. ¼ lb. pancetta, chopped into a dice
  2. 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1-2 tablespoons butter
  4. 2 leeks (white and light green parts only) cut into ¼ inch pieces
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin purée
  7. ½ of a butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into cubes
  8. 6 cups chicken stock (store bought or homemade)
  9. 1 ½ teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper (more, to taste)
  10. ¼- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  11. Crumbled herbed goat cheese (such as Purple Haze)

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and fry until crisped. Remove the crumbled pancetta and set to drain on paper towels; set aside. Reduce heat to medium: add olive oil, butter and the leeks to the pot. Sauté, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, until fragrant, add garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Add to the pot the pumpkin, squash and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the squash is completely tender (about 20 minutes). Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Reduce heat to low and puree the soup completely using an immersion blender. If you do not own an immersion blender, puree the soup in batches in a conventional blender (be very careful, hot liquids expand when blended).

To serve: ladle into a bowl, garnish with crumbled herbed goat cheese, pomegranate seeds and a few pieces of pancetta.

Make this soup vegetarian: use vegetable stock instead of chicken, omit the pancetta and just sauté the leeks in oil. Make this soup vegan: by changing the stock to veggie and omitting the pancetta, butter and garnish instead with toasted pepitas and pomegranate seeds.