Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Baked Pumpkin Soup

Okay, yes, I made this because I thought it was cute. And it IS cute. It's soup baked inside a sweet little pumpkin. Hi, baby pumpkin! But since the presentation is not how you actually eat the thing, it's still a bit of work. Just admitting that whole thing up front. It sure is cute, though. I mean, I took it out of the oven and thought, Well aren't you precious. Followed shortly by: I will eat you.

The other thing is, I don't remember where I got this idea. I know I read it somewhere, but the where escapes me. I distinctly remember that, wherever this was, they simply scooped the inside of the pumpkin out into the goopy, soupy whatever they baked with it. So I'm not sure they were making soup. So maybe I didn't just steal this idea, uncredited.

Back to the recipe...

It's really a clean (potless!) and easy way to make the soup, and it has a flavor I'm not sure you'd duplicate on the stovetop. You'll have to pour the liquids out after baking, however, and scoop the pumpkin "meat" into a dish you can use to zap it with the immersion blender (or directly into the blender). But for me, it seemed easier than peeling and cutting the pumpkin initially when it's hard as a rock and slippery.

Baked Pumpkin Soup

Serves 2-3 
(2 if you loooove soup, as I do. Up to 4 if you live with dudes, like my husband, who say "What is this?Pumpkin?" with that face. You know the one.)

1 small pumpkin, about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cube vegetable boullion
2 T grated parmesan cheese
small sprig fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350º (or your convection to 325º) and wash the outside of your pumpkin with soap. Get a pie tin or ceramic dish large enough for your pumpkin to sit inside. You may want to spray the bottom, where the pumpkin will sort of wilt over it.

Cut a hole in the top of your pumpkin, angling the knife about 45 degrees and cutting so that the lid rests on the flesh inside, rather than falling inside. Scoop out the seeds and goop, directly into a sieve if you're planning to keep the seeds. (Do it! Search for 'pumpkin seeds' at Tastespotting and bake them off into one of the yummy recipes you'll find. Or that's what I did....)

Pour the cream inside, and crumble the boullion cube over the top.

Like so. ^

Then fill 'er up with water, leaving about an inch of space at the top, and replace the lid. Place your pumpkin on top of your baking dish of choice and into the oven for an hour. Stir it up a few times, as you please. It may take another 30-60 minutes for your pumpkin to completely cook through, depending on its size and shape. When the pumpkin is cooked (you can check by piercing the inside with a fork, just like you regularly would test whether a squash is finished cooking), take the whole thing out and let it cool down on top of the stove until you can handle it without burning yourself.

When you are brave enough, start by fishing out your rosemary sprig. If the leaves fell off, no worries. But the stem won't taste very good.

Pour the creamy, soupy contents out of the pumpkin and into your blender, or a deep ceramic bowl if you'll be immersion blending, and scoop out the cooked pumpkin. Go right down to the skin. I found it easiest to cut the pumpkin in half first. Whiz or blend away. When the soup is smooth, add the parmesan cheese and stir well, letting it do that magical melting thing that cheese does. Future me: I think gruyere would be good here, too. Taste it. Add salt and pepper as you like.

Eat it with croutons or crackers, or something salty and crunchy. Maybe your pumpkin seeds? I used the leftover tiny baby pita chip crumbs that I hate throwing away but are obviously too small for the hummus. They were delightful.

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