Curried pumpkin and black bean soup

Makes 4 servings (6 ½ cups)

Welcome fall with this fabulous soup that is as colorful as it is tasty. Another bonus: It’s substantial enough to stand on its own with a basket of warm flour tortillas.

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup finely chopped red onion

½ red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 (14-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup half-and-half

¼ cup dry sherry, optional

1 teaspoon packed brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream and roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and curry powder; stir for 30 seconds.

Stir in the remaining ingredients except the garnish. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until heated through.

Garnish the servings with sour cream and pumpkin seeds.