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Pumpkin Soup with Gruyere Cheese

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

For this soup use Sugar pumpkins or Perfection squash–both are sweet and full-flavored without being stringy and watery. Delicata and butternut squash, though milder, are also delicious. The stock is a simple one, using the seeds and scrapings of the pumpkin or squash, a few vegetables, and herbs.

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursehot appetizer

Dietary Considerationkosher, vegetarian

Equipmentfood mill

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecheesy, creamy, rich

Type of Dishhot soup

Ingredients

  • Squash or pumpkin seeds and scrapings
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, plus some leaves, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 turnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage leaves or 5 to 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 4 parsley branches
  • 3 thyme branches
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 pumpkin or squash, weighing about 2½ pounds, halved and scooped out
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 to 7 cups stock
  • ½ to 1 cup light cream
  • White pepper
  • 3 ounces Gruyere cheese, finely grated
  • Thyme leaves, finely chopped, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut the pumpkin or squash in half and scrape out all the seeds and stringy material with a large metal spoon. Put them in a pot with the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, simmer for 25 minutes, and then strain.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the pumpkin or squash halves, face down, on a lightly oiled baking sheet until the skin is wrinkled and the flesh is soft, about 1 hour. Remove them from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. Reserve any caramelized juices that may have collected on the pan.

  3. Melt the butter in a soup pot, add the onion, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked pumpkin, the juices, if any, the salt, and 6 cups of the stock. Bring to a boil; then simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

  4. Pass the soup through a food mill, which will smooth it out while leaving some texture. Return the soup to the pot and add the cream and more stock, if necessary, to thin it.

  5. Taste for salt and season with the freshly ground white pepper. Stir in the grated cheese and serve the soup with the thyme leaves scattered over it.

  6. Variation: Another way to make this soup is to bake pumpkins with the cream and the cheese inside their hollowed-out shells. The cooked flesh is scraped into the hot cream and melted cheese and served right from the pumpkin–a satisfying and fun way to cook and eat.

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My girlfriend from Haiti was in the U.S. for New Year's. Traditionally, Haitians make pumpkin soup, or Soup Jamou (not sure of the spelling,) for New Year's. Her host wanted to do something nice so she bought her a pumpkin to make the soup - a 20 pounder! Not the best idea...made for a good laugh. www.HelpFromHome.com

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