Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Soup with fall flavored croutons

Think, "pumpkin pie in soup form." Or, a french velouté version of classic American fall cooking.

1 small cooking pumpkin
2 medium sized sweet onions
light cream to garnish
2 bay leaves
and any other bouquet garni herbs you might have around

your bread of choice, preferably the day-old versions that you would probably throw out otherwise

a combination of the following to taste:
pumpkin spice
salt and pepper


1.Use a peeler to skin the pumpkin, then cut it in half and scoop out the seedy middle. Cut the pumpkin flesh into large chunks, preferably in fairly even pieces for easy boiling. Peel and cut in fourths one of the onions.

2. Throw the pumpkin in a soup pot with the quartered onion, the bay leaves and bouquet garni, salt and cover with cold water. Bring this to a boil and simmer for about 10-20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is cooked, testing it with a fork.

3. Drain the pumpkin, preserving the water that the pumpkin was cooked in to add later. Remove the herbs.

4. Dice and sautée the second onion with a tablespoon or two of butter. When the onion is translucent and starts to brown, sprinkle your chosen spices over top, give it a good stir, and throw in the drained pumpkin and onion.

5. About 2 minutes later, add a cup or two of the stock rendered from the boiling of the pumpkin and start blending, preferably with a stick blender. Add more water per your ideal thickness of soup and continue blending until the soup is utterly silky.

6. Return the soup to a low heat and keep it at a low simmer for about 30 minutes. When ready to serve, stir in the cream and garnish with croutons. Never let a soup boil after having added cream/milk/cheese!

Fall Flavored Croutons:
A great way to add layer to this flavor and to use otherwise old-tasting bread!

1. Preheat the oven to about 400ºF or 205ºc. Cut day old bread into 1 inch or smaller cubes using a bread knife without smashing the bread.

2. Toss cubes in a bowl with a good few splashes of vegetable oil and the spices that you also used in the soup. Then spread the cubes on a baking sheet in an even layer.

3. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until browned and the desired crunchiness, tossing the croutons once or twice mid-way through cooking. These will keep for a good couple weeks in an airtight container.

Garnish soup and serve!

My apologies for the sideways photo... I can't figure out how to turn it, or just don't have the patience to figure it out, but thought the photo was worth posting.

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