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Celebrate the Winter Solstice with this festive golden soup, warmed with fragrant nutmeg and allspice. This velvety soup is elegant and deceptively simple to prepare.
In a heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion for about five minutes, until softened. Add in the chopped carrots and celery and stir in the spices. Lower the heat and gently cook for about ten minutes, being careful not to over-brown the onions.
Add in the pumpkin, potato, and vegetable broth, and stir. Add in the dry sherry, stir, cover, and bring to a slow simmer, cooking the soup for about twenty-five to thirty-five minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.
Carefully ladle the soup into a blender. Cover and purée the soup until it is smooth and creamy. Return the purée to the soup pot and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Stir in the half-and-half, if desired, and blend until smooth. Serve at once in festive bowls, with a basket of warm bread or muffins.
Excerpted from Cooking by the Seasons written by Karri Ann Allrich.