ROASTED PUMPKIN AND GARLIC SOUP
Here is an utterly simple recipe using the concentrated flavors and intense, melting texture of roasted pumpkin,
and which yields an exceptionally creamy soup when pureed with chicken broth. It is delicious as is, sublime with
the addition of a small amount of heavy cream or crème fraîche.
When I can find it, I like to use kabocha squash, a squat striated green winter squash increasingly available
in supermarkets, for this recipe. Its flesh is extremely creamy.
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2 pounds sugar pumpkin or winter squash, such as kabocha, butternut, or acorn
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 head garlic
2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons heavy cream or crème fraîche (optional)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil
|Preheat the oven to 350°F.|
|Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush the cut sides with oil and
place cut side down on a heavy baking sheet. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons water onto the pan.
Pull the loose papery skin off the garlic, keeping the head intact, and wrap it in a sheet of foil.
Place the baking sheet and the foil packet in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until the squash
is puree-tender and the garlic gives when the package is pressed. Set aside until cool enough to
handle, about 20 minutes.|
|With a spoon, scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin into the bowl of a food processor.
Separate the garlic cloves and squeeze the soft pulp into the work bowl. Process the mixture
to a fine puree. With the motor running, drizzle in the chicken broth and process until perfectly smooth.|
|Transfer the soup to a medium heavy saucepan set over moderate heat and bring to a simmer,
stirring frequently. Whisk in the cream, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in enough lemon juice
to taste to balance the flavors. Simmer for 1 minute, and serve. Scatter the herbs over each serving.|
|The soup will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 1 week and can be frozen for up
to 2 months|
|Herbed or Spiced Pumpkin and Garlic Soup|
|The soup takes well to many flavorings, such as spice mixtures or herbs.
Heat the puree with any of the following: 2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder
or commercial garam masala, or 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin, or a mix of:
1 teaspoon each ground coriander and sweet paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and
1/4 teaspoon ground caraway seeds. Garnish with 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro instead of the parsley.