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.
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.
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