Confession – I curse, like a sailor in fact. I know it’s not ladylike. I know it’s not classy. It is in no way how my parents raised me. I know that should I ever implement a curse cup into my life, some lucky local charity would feel as though they hit the lottery.
This undesirable character flaw rears its ugly head at certain times more than others, as you might suspect. Case in point, making this soup.
Cutting and peeling a pumpkin. Seemed pretty straight forward, at least in my mind. It wasn’t. Maybe there’s a strategy I don’t know about, a trick, a tool, a special Halloween spell to cast so that the skin magically falls off, I don’t know. I do know that I cut myself, swore, and generally had a difficult time.
I spent most of the afternoon thinking, “Never making this *&^%$#^ soup again,” and was proven so tremendously wrong.
This soup is perfection. From the silky smooth texture, to the subtle pumpkin flavor, to the homemade herbed croutons… it is perfection.
Worth every cut and bit of frustration. It should appear on your Thanksgiving table. It should appear on your table the first day of Fall. It is delightful and delicious.
One of the major standouts is that it doesn’t have that fake pumpkin feel that beers, lattes, baked goods, etc., would have you believe is a part of the pumpkin. There is no cinnamon, cloves, or pumpkin pie nonsense. It’s just pure, earthy, pumpkiny goodness.
Homemade croutons are something I’ve never attempted, and this recipe has converted me to homemade all the way. I baked them just slightly longer than the recipe suggests, as I wanted them a bit drier than they initially came out. You’ll find others uses for them, I promise.
I also added freshly ground nutmeg and some smoked sea salt to bring out just a bit more flavor.
Another confession, I am an auction maniac. I am a rust lover. I get junk drunk. I love old, I love dirty, I love lived in, and perceived imperfections.
I’ve been attending these adrenal rushes, called auctions for as long as I can remember, with my mother, who is an antique dealer. I’ve recently turned this obsession into a side gig, and I hope you’ll all check out and like my Facebook page for Re: Goods Resurrected. It’s something I love just as much as cooking and blogging, and I hope it will resonate with you as well.
This recipe comes from an amazing find, The City Tavern Cookbook, a collection of Colonial type recipes from this amazing restaurant in Philadelphia. I scored the cookbook jackpot a month ago at an auction, with about 50 other cookbooks, and this signed copy has me mega excited to share its goodness.
I’ve attempted and intended in the past to do week-long themed posts, to little success. As you know, even the best laid intentions are met with actual life, and sometimes interrupted. But I’m focused friends. I’m committed. I’m giving you two weeks of Pumpkin Mania! But not the normal Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Some E Cards type stuff. I’ve scoured, researched, and developed some amazing out of the ordinary pumpkin love.
I’ve rambled long enough friends. Make this. Curse at your pumpkin. And enjoy the next few weeks of Pumpkin Mania. Happy Sunday!
1 medium pumpkin (about 6 pounds)
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 Scotch bonnet pepper (I used a large jalapeno)
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups heavy cream
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon nutmeg, freshly ground
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups Herb Croutons (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish
Cut the pumpkin into 8 wedges; remove and discard the seeds and membranes. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and reserved. Discard the rind.
Cut the flesh into cubes and transfer to a large stockpot; add enough salted water to cover. Add the onion, Scotch bonnet pepper, bay leaves, and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes, until the pumpkin is fork-tender. Remove from the heat. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Strain the pumpkin mixture through a fine wire sieve and discard the liquid.
Place the pumpkin mixture in a blender or food processor bowl and puree until smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan. Stir in the cream and wine.
Simmer about 20 minutes, until creamy and heated through. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
To serve, divide the soup among soup bowls. Sprinkle with Herb Croutons and chives.
2 medium shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small bunch fresh basil, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves pulled
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
12 slices white bread (crusts optional), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
In a small saucepan, sauté the shallots and garlic in the butter over medium heat for 2 minutes, until golden.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the oil, basil, parsley, thyme leaves, and cheese and blend well. Add bread cubes to mixture and toss until well-combined.
Spread the bread cubes, in a single layer, in a shallow baking pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp and dry. Croutons can be stored, uncovered, for up to 1 week.