Of course I love to cook. Usually. OK, sometimes I don’t FEEL like cooking, but that’s different. In general, I’m never happier than I am in my kitchen, with a pile of produce, a recipe taped to a cupboard, knife in hand, oven preheating, butter softening.

This is never more true than it is in October. I don’t know why, exactly, but there’s something about this month that makes me want to get up every day and make a delicious bubbling splattered mess of my counters, sink and range.

Maybe I feel this way because in October, everything (or darned near, save a few berries) is in season, from apples to zucchini. Tomatoes even cross paths with oranges. And smack dab in the middle there are pumpkins. To paraphrase my husband, who once said something similar about Chicken Wing Dip: I was put on this earth to love pumpkins.

This soup is just one of a gazillion ways to honor the undisputed king of the October garden. I can’t wait to make it again myself.

GINGERED PUMPKIN SOUP
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
½ sweet yellow onion, sliced thin
1½-2-pound fresh pumpkin, seeds and skin removed, diced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
½ pound Yukon potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable stock or water
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup cream sherry
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated, optional

Heat the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy pot. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the pumpkin, ginger and potatoes. Cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the stock or water, orange juice and sherry.

Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until pumpkin is soft and easily pierced with a fork (about 1 hour).

Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer back to the pot and stir in the heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle Gruyere (if using) over individual portions and serve with a hearty bread.

Makes 4 large servings.

Per serving with cheese: 335 calories, 16.5 grams fat, 2.3 grams fiber, 12.8 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrate, 962 milligrams sodium.

Per serving without cheese: 218 calories, 7.3 grams fat, 2.3 grams fiber, 4.37 grams protein, 27.75 grams carbohydrate, 867 milligrams sodium.
— Jennie Geisler can be reached on Twitter: @ETNGeisler.