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Elegant Pumpkin Soup… It’s Time!

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Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is almost here.  I know I’m not the only person around who still has several decorative pumpkins artistically placed around my home and, yes, even at the hunting ranch.  I do this every year.  They represent my favorite time of year, autumn.  And they seem to last FOREVER!

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This is the one that adds an air of autumnal elegance to the ranch house.

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You can see how it spruces up the space!

After they have served their aesthetic purpose, I roast the flesh, package it up, and freeze it to use in my best loved pumpkin recipes.  This gorgeous soup is one of my favorites.  It is elegant, rich and hearty without being heavy, and EASY .  I have made up batches, poured them into mason jars for transport, and  taken them to the hunting camp.  It would also just as easily be an elegant first course for any Thanksgiving dinner.

Elegant Pumpkin Soup

1/2 onion, chopped                                                1/8 tsp. ground ginger
2 carrots, chopped                                                 2 tsp. brown sugar
2 stalks celery, chopped                                        1 1/2 tsp. salt
olive oil                                                                  1/4 tsp. black pepper
32 oz. chicken stock                                              1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups cooked pumpkin                                         1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon                                                  dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt                                                                                                                         salted roasted pepitas*

*pepitas are shelled pumpkin seeds

In a large soup pot, saute onion, carrots, celery in olive oil until tender. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes until veggies are tender. Add pumpkin and spices. Puree with immersion blender. Continue to simmer for a few minutes. Add whipping cream if you want extra richness. Stir in. Complement with stirred sour cream or greek yogurt thinned with a bit of milk so that it can be drizzled artistically (and stirred in more smoothly).  Sprinkle with salted pepitas.
Serves 6-8

 

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Timely, no. Tasty, yes.

Roasting Fresh Pumpkin

Uncle richard's 2014 party, pumpkin 007I’ll bet you didn’t know that pumpkins purchased in October to be used for autumn decor will last until past the end of February!  Don’t ask me how I know that. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that my family has been enjoying a beautiful assortment of Thanksgiving pumpkins, Christmas pumpkins, New Year’s pumpkins, and Valentine’s Day pumpkins.  Enough was finally enough.

I was ready to take my pumpkin to the next level.  Roasted pumpkin is part of my recipe repertoire with pumpkin empanadas, elegant creamy pumpkin soup with pepitas, pumpkin creme brulee, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin biscuits.  Did you guess that I’m a fan?

 Just for the record, pumpkins, when kept relatively cool and dry last a long damned time.  The flesh can then be roasted, packaged, and frozen in zip-locked bags with relatively little work.  Depending on the size of the pumpkin, take a large butcher knife or extra long, serrated bread knife to cut through.  Use a spoon to scrape out seeds and stringy bits.  Cut again to fit onto a cookie sheet. Arrange, skin side up on the cookie sheet.  Place in a 400° oven until the skin begins to wrinkle and a fork inserts easily  into the flesh.

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After roasting, these pumpkin bits have been flipped over to cool before scraping the flesh from the skin.

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Additional stringy bits can be removed easily once it has been roasted.

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The roasted flesh can easily be scooped out of the skin.

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I always transfer the roasted pumpkin into a 2-cup measure before transferring it to a zip-lock bag and labeling it.

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Labeling the package with the contents, amount, and date is helpful when pulling from the freezer for a recipe. Flattening out the contents before freezing allows for easy storage. Freeze flat on a cookie sheet then stack after contents are frozen. That prevents bags from sticking together during freezing.

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I set aside a little to make this wonderful batch of empanadas.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Recipes, Side Dishes, Sweet Things

 

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