Cheesy pumpkin soup can be made in a crock pot. Prepare the soup ahead of time and have it done in time for dinner as an appetizer, or prepare the soup during the day and pour over a cooked chicken breast for a cheesy pumpkin sauce. You can use fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin. Makes six servings.
Prepare the pumpkin if you are using a fresh pumpkin and not the canned pumpkin. Cut the top off of the pumpkin. Remove the seeds and string bits. Cut the pumpkin in half. Use a spoon or knife to remove the flesh from the inside of the pumpkin. Cut pieces into small chunks. Use a potato masher to turn the flesh into puree. Set aside.
Place the cloves, coriander seeds and peppercorns in a frying pan and toast. Add the chipotle powder, ancho chili powder, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, garlic powder and nutmeg to the frying pan. Use high heat to continue heating as you toss the spices together in the pan. In two to three minutes the spices will start to smoke; remove from heat and allow cooling.
Place the cooled spices in a mortar to blend the spices together or electric grinder to grind the spices together.
Pour the vegetable broth, evaporated milk and half and half in a crock pot. Mix together. Set the crock pot on high.
Add the powdered spices, maple syrup and salt to the bowl of pumpkin. Use a wire whisk to blend the mixture. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crock pot. Use the wire whisk to mix thoroughly. Cover the crock pot and cook on high for two to three hours.
Add the cheddar cheese to the soup as a garnish before removing from the crock pot. Allow the cheese to melt into the soup slightly.