This soup has it all…………a creamy blend of subtle hint of cinnamon and nutmeg with a warm kick with chipotle pepper and cumin. I thought of mole sauce when I was making it, wanted a nutty chile undertone. The nutty comes in the form of the browned butter used to bake the pumpkin, and the pumpkin flour seeds that act as garnishes. And just because I can, I dropped some semi sweet chocolate into it. Because everything is better with chocolate.
This is a perfect course for a holiday, Autumn/Fall or even Christmas meal.
Preparing the Pumpkins
Use only sugar or Cinderella pumpkins for they have the best texture and taste. I find that the 2-3 pound ones have a better flavor.
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut the top of stem off, and quarter the pumpkin. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Using a fork or kabob or anything sharp, poke lots of holes in the meat of the squash.
Using 1/4 cup of salted butter heat on stovetop, allowing to boil. Stir and watch carefully as the boiling butter begans turning brown. It will look like the color of a brown paper grocery bag. When it hits that color, immediately remove from heat so you don’t scorch it.
Ever so carefully, spoon the browned butter over the holes of the prepared pumpkin quarters. Place in oven and let cook 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on size.
Butter just prior to browning
Browned butter. Remove from heat immediately after it gets to this point. It adds a bit of a hazelnut flavor.
Pour browned butter over the prepoked holes.
Just out of oven. Meat is soft. Don’t waste any of the butter, add to the soup.
Meanwhile, lets prepare the soup.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 garlic cloves, chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 chipotle peppers (canned in adobo, 1 for mild, 2 for spicy), chopped
1-2 cups chicken stock, depending on desired thickness and how thick your pumpkin purée is (May substitute vegetable stock if desired)
2 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 fresh ground ginger
1.2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoons salt, more to taste
1 Tbsp lime juice
4 cups chopped, cooked pumpkin* (1 3-4 pound fresh or canned
1 cup half and half or cream
Toasted, shelled pumpkin seeds
1 Heat oil in a large pot (8-quart) on medium high heat. Add the onions,bacon and tomato and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, cumin, and chipotle, cook for 1 minute more.
2 Add the chicken stock, chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, oregano, and salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered.
Remove pumpkin from oven. The meat will be tender. Let cool slightly and use a spoon to scoop away from the skin. Blend and then add to pot.
3 *If you are working with raw pumpkin seeds, now would be a good time to toast them. (If your pumpkin seeds are already toasted, skip this step.) Just spread them out in an even layer in a frying pan on medium high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon while toasting, until the pumpkin seeds are fragrant and are lightly browned. Remove to a bowl.
4 Remove the soup from heat and purée in blender. Return the puréed soup to the pot.
5 Add half and half, as well as lime juice. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt, cumin, oregano, or chipotle to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more stock or half and half to desired consistency.
Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds, feta cheese and chopped cilantro.
The pumpkin farm had some gorgeous gourds so I scooped them out and spooned the soup in just prior to serving. Very sophisticated soup and was an excellent intro to the main dish.
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