Friday, October 10, 2008

Pumpkin obsession: Pumpkin soup

It all started with the Jamaican cookbook I borrowed from my public library -- from which I got a delicious recipe for pumpkin stew -- and now it's turning into a full-blown obsession.
Maybe that's a bit dramatic. But really, I never knew how much I loved pumpkin flavors until this year. Sure, I'd been seeing them everywhere every fall of my life, but who knew? Who knew what could become of those heavy orange squash?

So, here's what I'm loving about pumpkin right now: My friend Courtney made some pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies that I couldn't stop eating; my friend Stefanie, with her newborn Sidney snoozing nearby, made a moist, sweet pumpkin bread that used a zucchini recipe but simply replaced the zucchini with pumpkin; and now, my friend Kate has e-mailed me her favorite pumpkin soup recipe. And, holy cow, it is amazing!

She said it came from from Mark Sullivan, of the Woodside Village Pub in California, and she added that he likes to use French red pumpkin (again, who knew?), but that any kind of pumpkin or winter squash will do.

The recipe she sent left a little direction to the imagination, so I've put my interpretation next to hers.

Pumpkin soup (serves 8)

4 yellow onions (I quartered them)

chicken stock -- homemade is recommended, enough to cover soup (I used 5 cups)

1 bunch sage, tightly tied (I used sage from my garden, about 24 leaves)

1/4 nutmeg, grated

2/3 cup maple syrup

4 ounces butter

pumpkin (mine was about 2 pounds), quartered

extra-virgin olive oil

salt and white pepper

1.) Rub the pumpkin quarters with olive oil -- I used about a half teaspoon per quarter -- and salt and pepper liberally.

2.) Roast in oven with fan on until tender. I didn't have a fan, so I roasted it, turning the quarters once, for almost an hour at 350 degrees.

3.) Scoop out the flesh and put aside.

4.) Sweat onions, covered, in the butter with the sage until translucent and tender.

5.) Add pumpkin flesh into sweating onions and cover with chicken stock.

6.) Add nutmeg and maple syrup and bring to a simmer. (I let it simmer for about 10 minutes.)

7.) Remove the sage. Season with salt and pepper to taste and blend for several minutes with a high-speed blender until smooth.

8.) Pass through a strainer and warm in a soup pot before serving. Straining takes out all the chunks, but leaves thickness.

9.) Top with brown butter and sage garnish.

Brown butter and sage garnish (serves 8)

4 ounces butter

16 sage leaves

1.) Heat butter in sauce pan and turn on heat (to medium).

2.) When the butter foams and begins to turn light brown, add the sage leaves and cook on medium heat until sage is crispy.

3.) Liberally drizzle sage butter over soup and top with sage. As you can tell by my photo, I think I was a little too liberal with the butter... It was awesome, though.


Kate said...

Glad you love it. It really is an awesome soup. :) Maybe you can come enjoy it sometime with me IN ca at the Village Pub

Nicole said...

That would be awesome!

Courtney said...

The soup recipes looks sooooo good. On another pumpkin related note: I bought some pumpkin spice coffee at Sahara Mart and its very good.