Stella’s Pumpkin Soup

Eric grew so many pumpkins! I had no choice but to make a pumkin soup.  It turned out amazingly–here it is!

3 medium cooking pumpkins*
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, halved
4 Tbsp olive oil, halved
~ 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 heaping tsp powdered cinnamon
1 heaping tsp powdered nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
2-3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream, for garnish

1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Meanwhile, lightly grease a roasting tin or cookie sheet (or sheets, if needed) and set aside. Cut each pumpkin in half and scoop out the stringy center and seeds (keep these for later roasting or planting; see below). An ice cream scoop works well.

2. Place the pumpkin halves open-side down on the cookie sheet/s and bake for about 30 minutes, then remove from oven. Sprinkle sage leaves around pumpkin, and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Return to oven and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until pumpkins are tender and sage is crunchy but not burnt. Remove from oven and turn oven off.

3. Allow pumpkin haves to cool enough so that you can comfortably touch them. Using a spoon and knife, remove all the cooked flesh from the skin, discarding the latter. Chop pumpkin into workable chunks and set aside. Remove sage and set aside separately.

4. In a large stock pot, melt remaining butter along with remaining olive oil. Add garlic and shallots, stirring occasionally until translucent and fragrant. Add half the sage, all of the pumpkin, all of the spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium high heat for approximately five minutes, stirring frequently.

5. Pour in the vegetable stock, using just enough to barely cover the pumpkin the pot. This may be about 2-3 cups, depending on the size of your pumpkins. Bring just to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for a further 30 minutes.

6. Pour soup into a blender or large food processor and purée to desired texture. I prefer my pumpkin soup very smooth. Alternatively, retain a few larger chunks of pumpkin, purée the rest, and then put the chunks back in. This makes a visually interesting presentation, as well. Note: You may need to do this step in two or more batches, pouring the puréed soup into a separate bowl after each session, until all is puréed. Then pour the soup back into the stock pot, over low heat.

7. Ladle the soup into serving bowls, drizzle with a light spiral of cream, and garnish with grated parmesan and the saved sage leaves (not shown here due to the pumpkin farmer having thrown them all into the stock pot!).

Serve with croutons or homemade bread.

The number of portions will be determined by the size of your pumpkins. I was able to make three large bowls of soup with three small-to-medium homegrown pumpkins.

Eric’s Roast Pumpkin Seeds
pumpkin seeds (try to save up at least a cup before roasting)
~1 tsp Old Bay per cup of seeds
1/2 tsp olive oil

1. Rinse seeds in a bowl or colander. Set aside to dry (Eric uses a cutting board; you could also use paper towels). Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 300°.

2. Grease a large baking tray with olive oil; try to smooth it out lightly but evenly. Spread the seeds out across the tray, in a single layer. Sprinkle Old Bay over all of the seeds as evenly as possible.

3. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times for even spice distribution and roasting. Allow to cool before serving.

Roasted pumpkin seeds will keep for up to a month in an airtight container in the pantry.

*You need a quality pumpkin, not the ones you get for $3.99 jack-o-lanterns, with their stringy, neon orange flesh. We grew our own, and they were excellent, and have the added benefits of producing more seeds than we know what to do with (just kidding, we roasted and ate them!). If you grow your own from organic seed, you can start your own heirloom pumpkin crop! (Many corporate seeds are engineered to produce fruits with infertile second generation seeds… so you have to keep buying more. Assholes.)

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