If you’ve never made your own pumpkin from scratch anything before and always relied on canned purees to fill your pies and nourish your muffins, then perhaps you too didn’t realize that jack o lantern pumpkins were not to be cooked with. Motivated to make something good out of our surplus of carving pumpkins, I would make pumpkin soup. The baseline recipe I would be using from one of my favorite Alice Waters cookbooks called for sugar pumpkins and I knew those orange orbs perched on our stoop would not suffice. I learned that sugar pumpkins are darker orange, have vertical stems and are less stringy than carving pumpkins. I learned that Whole Foods didn’t have any in stock and I learned that Bristol Farms only had small pumpkins at 1 lb each. Good grief.

The hardest part of this recipe was slicing the pumpkins horizontally. The skin was very tough and I was certain that in the Halloween spirit, I would lose a finger. I stabilized each pumpkin in the metal cup that sits within my cutting board and then pierced the flesh with a ghoulish stab and finished the job by slitting the beast in half until the innards wept out – too much Freddy? After that task, it was a matter of scooping, roasting, scooping, cooking. All done with about 30 minutes of my actual attention.

While the sugar pumpkin roasted, I figured on a way to warm my kids to the idea of eating pumpkin soup while giving them a little whole grain nibble.

Using the hollowed out bottom half of the roasted pumpkin shell, I created a jack o lantern soup-scape. The croutons were a breeze to shape and toast.

Starting with a piece of whole grain bread, I cut a circle and from there the jack shapes emerged. Consider using Halloween cookie cutters for other interesting soupscapes. I brushed the bread with olive oil on both sides and toasted them in my toaster oven for 3 minutes until brown.

No tricks and all treats, which deserved my kind of Halloween cocktail.

[recipe]

the great pumpkin soup, charlie brown

PrepTime: 10 minutes

CookTime: 45 minutes roasting, 15 minutes active cook time

1 3 lb sugar pumpkin or 4-1 lb

4 garlic cloves

4 thyme sprigs

1 medium onion chopped

32 oz chicken stock

2 t salt

2 T butter

2 T maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350°. Slice pumpkins in half horizontally. Scoop out seeds and place halves, pulp side down on baking sheet, with a clove of garlic (do not remove paper shell) and bit of thyme sprig tucked under. Roast for 45-55 minutes until pulp in soft.

In large pot, saute onion in 1 t olive oil until tender. When the pumpkin is still warm from roasting, scoop out the flesh into the pot. Squeeze out garlic cloves from the paper casing. Add chicken stock and begin to mash with a potato masher or spoon until your desired thickness. Add butter, maple syrup and salt to warmed soup. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

Cook’s Options: Blend soup in a blender in batches or use and immersion stick to get a smoother soup. Add in cream or more butter for a richer taste.

recipe adapted from Alice Waters and provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com

4 Comments

  1. mary Klauzer says Oct 29th 2010 2:02 pm

    Sherri – You continue to blow my mind…LOVE the jack-o-lantern-toast-surprise! See you soon…. Mary (Klauzer)

    • Sherri says Oct 29th 2010 8:59 pm

      Mary, you’re too kind. Thanks for your support!

  2. Sarah@buttered-up says Nov 9th 2010 4:18 pm

    This looks so amazing. Look at your presentation! So fun. It’s 7:15 a.m. and I’m dying to run down and buy a pumpkin right now. Alas, nothing opens before 10 a.m. But I can sit and scratch your photo and hope it makes a wonderful smell just like those stickers I’d get from some of my teachers as a kid. Haha.

    • Sherri says Nov 10th 2010 8:59 am

      Hi Sarah, Scratch and sniff…food blogging 2.0 – you might be onto something ‘cept the smell of pumpkin soup is not as good as its nourishment. Thanks for checking in and checking it out.

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