Pumpkin Bisque Season
Fall conjures up images of crispy, cool air, and gorgeous trees. Its a time of year when everything starts to settle in for the cold of winter. Kids are back in school. Squirrels gathering winter nuts. Another image of fall includes pumpkins. Bright orange squash resting on your porch. But, you can also make a very fine pumpkin bisque. This soup is simple, satisfying and healthy. So, put on your sweater, and lets get cooking.
Roasting Pumpkin – Say What?
I know, a lot of recipes demand that you roast pumpkin flesh. Not me. I really can’t justify it. A pumpkin is cumbersome to work with in a kitchen. Not to mention the clean-up. Personally, I know I would have pumpkin everywhere. I also don’t see a huge taste difference. If you want to roast pumpkin go for it. But, don’t use large Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins. They are stringy, and don’t taste that great. The best pumpkins to use are Sugar Pie pumpkins, but you may have trouble finding them. I would suggest, however, roasting a few pumpkin seeds for garnish. I bought one Sugar Pie pumpkin for this purpose, and used canned pumpkin for the rest of the recipe. Just clean the seeds, and mix them with olive oil and salt. Roast them flat on a baking sheet until nice and brown. But, I’m sticking to pumpkin puree for the soup. If you decide to join me buy the puree, and not pie filling. It’s not the same, and will be overly sweet.
Stocks, Herbs and Such
Start with a good stock. Preferably make your own. I’m using vegetable stock, as I think it makes for a cleaner taste. Chicken stock has too much fat, and is not as well suited to this recipe. Play with the seasoning, and use what you like. Ginger, cinnamon, sage, nutmeg, and even chili flakes work well with this soup. You can even add maple syrup if you want a sweeter product. I added a touch of lemon juice. This brightens the whole dish. My recipe calls for cream, but if you are trying to be healthy, substitute coconut milk. However, use cream over milk. The cream won’t curdle when hot, like the milk will. I would highly recommend using an immersion blender. Its easier, and safer. The clean-up will go quicker too. If you use a regular blender, puree the soup in small batches. You can always reheat it.
Comfortable Pumpkin Bisque
This pumpkin bisque is definitely customizable. Garnish it with bacon, green onion, chives or croutons. I like the roasted pumpkin seeds, with a little extra cream. You can serve this soup as a meal, a first course or as lunch with a sandwich. It would be great as a Thanksgiving first course. It’s better the second day, so serve it anytime. No matter when you serve it, this pumpkin bisque is sure to warm your heart and soul. Its so savory, creamy, and comforting. Comfortable doesn’t even describe how you will feel after a bowl of this. OK, maybe two bowls.
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper, Freshly Ground
- 3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper
- 15 Ounces Pumpkin Puree
- 3 1/2 Cups Vegetable Stock
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice, Freshly Squeezed
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream, Plus 1 Tablespoon For Garnish
- Toasted Pumpkin Seeds for Garnish
- Melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add 1/4 cup of the stock to the onion mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low.
- Add the pumpkin puree, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat, and add the lemon juice. Puree with an immersion blender, or in small batches in a regular blender.
- Add the cream, and stir in. Re-heat if necessary. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with the additional cream and pumpkin seeds.