Sprinkles of salty ham cracklings top this rich side-dish soup. Using canned pumpkin makes it simple to prepare.
In a Dutch oven, cook onion in butter until tender, but not brown. Stir in the pumpkin, broth, brown sugar, bay leaves, nutmeg, and pepper. Bring mixture to boiling and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Remove and discard bay leaves. Stir in whipping cream. Cool slightly.
Transfer about 1/3 of the mixture to a food processor bowl or blender container. Cover and process or blend soup until smooth. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Return all pumpkin soup to the pan and heat through.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook the finely chopped ham in hot oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until ham is crisp. Drain off the oil. To serve, sprinkle the crisp ham over soup.