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Light Cream of Pumpkin Soup

Chef Mary puts a healthy new twist on a seasonal favorite.

Yield:

Six 1 cup servings

99% less-residue cooking spray 
2 large onions thinly sliced, about 1 pound
4 cloves minced or pressed fresh garlic
¼ cup hot water mixed with 1 tsp. low sodium chicken soup base 
2 rounded tbsp. brown sugar
1 29 oz. can solid pack pumpkin
1½ cups fat-free half-and-half
1½ cups fat-free skim milk
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg   
¼ tsp. white pepper
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
fresh thyme - optional


1. Lightly spray a medium-sized nonstick skillet or sauté pan with cooking spray and heat on medium heat. Add onions and garlic to pan along with water and chicken base.

2. Place a round piece of foil over onions and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer gently until onions are translucent and liquid has evaporated and formed a light glaze on the bottom of pan.

3. Add brown sugar and ½ to 1 tbsp. of water, just enough to dissolve sugar and glaze from bottom of pan.

4. Simmer gently another 1 to 2 minutes until caramel glaze cooks down and coats onions.  Remove from heat and transfer half of onion mixture to blender or food processor and process until smooth, adding a little water, ¼ cup if necessary, to form smooth paste. 
Set remaining onions and garlic aside to serve with soup as condiment.

5. In a medium-sized stock pot, whisk pureed onions together with pumpkin, half-and-half,
½ cup skim milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Heat soup over medium-low, whisking often until soup reaches high simmer. As soup heats and thickens, add small amounts of remaining milk until desired consistency is reached. Remove soup from heat and quickly whisk in butter and adjust seasonings, if necessary. 

Serve soup in individual bowls topped with a swirl of fat-free sour cream topped with 1 tbsp. caramelized onions and garlic and a sprinkle of fresh thyme.

Nutritional Information:

1 cup serving 158 Calories; 5g Fat; 5.0g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 4g Fiber; 15mg Cholesterol; 259mg Sodium.
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