There are a few words and phrases that only ever seem to appear at certain times of the year, do you ever notice that? Like 'sugarplums' at Christmas (does anyone even think about whatever a sugarplum actually is for the entire rest of the year?). Or 'trimmings' (as in 'with all the'), which only ever seems to occur alongside the Thanksgiving turkey. Ever have a lemon souffle, baby arugula salad or softshell crab 'with all the trimmings'? Nope, exactly. Trimmings are for that golden holiday bird and nothing else.

Pumpkin is another seasonal visitor, one that only seems to drop by in autumn. It gets a lot of less-than-friendly criticism, most likely due to the fact that every year there are ten thousand new pumpkin flavored food items including pumpkin beer, pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin candy, pumpkin cocktails, pumpkin waffles, and yes, pumpkin pie flavored sparkling water (it's a real thing. I Googled it. It's horrifying). The most high-profile offender, though, has got to be the pumpkin spice latte. Seriously. John Oliver hates them. Everybody hates them, except Taylor Swift and the legions of people who secretly love them (guilty as charged).

I say let's take a step back from either side of the Great PSL Divide and leave the the heated rhetoric and pumpkin spiced controversy aside for the rest of the season, to focus on pumpkin where it truly hearty, rich, autumnal soup.

Pumpkin & Chorizo Soup with Kale Pesto

I'm not sure if 'hearty' even begins to cover it. This is cold weather comfort food at its finest. This is, basically, a bear hug in a bowl. Don't be fooled by the touch of decadent luxury from the chorizo, though, this soup is actually a nutrient-packed superfood fueled by the hard-working twin engines known as pumpkin and kale. Spoonful after spoonful of this warm, richly spiced pumpkin soup, enlivened by the zesty bite of lemony kale pesto that sits on top, will help you fight the oncoming winter blahs during the colder months with a hefty dose of vitamin A, C, E, potassium and magnesium.

1 T. olive oil
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
1 50 oz. can of pumpkin puree
1 quart chicken stock
6 oz. Mexican-style pork chorizo
salt & pepper

For the kale pesto:

1/2 cup kale, washed 
3 T. olive oil, divided 
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice 
1 tsp. honey 
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 clove garlic, minced 
salt & pepper

Optional garnishes: raw pepitas, marigold petals

Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat, add onions and cook for a few minutes until onions begin to become translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a large pot, add pumpkin and chicken stock, and stir until well combined. Heat to medium, let simmer for 30 minutes.

Chop your kale roughly until you have about a half cup, then place in a blender or food processor. Drizzle with 2 T. olive oil, 1 T. lemon juice and 1 tsp honey, pulse just until ingredients start to form a coarse puree. Add the ground almonds and minced garlic, pulse a few more times just to blend. Taste pesto at this point, add salt and pepper according to your preference.

Taste soup and add seasoning as necessary. Ladle soup into bowls and top with pesto, adding optional garnishes depending on just how fancy you'd like to be.

If you're really feeling seasonal, you could finish the meal with a nice, controversial scoop of frozen dessert, such as this Pumpkin Spice ice cream by Phoenix's amazing Sweet Republic. Because damn it, y'all, pumpkin spice is delicious. And haters gonna hate. ;)