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Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 06:44 am

Pumpkin soup baked in a pumpkin

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The pumpkin isn’t only in this soup, it’s also the soup tureen. It’s delicious, and a real showstopper at the dinner table. Kids love eating it and love helping make it even more – with close adult supervision, of course!

The only crucial thing – besides making sure that you don’t pierce the outside of the pumpkin when you’re scooping the flesh – is picking the right pumpkin for the job: one that’s not only the right size, but also a variety that’s flavorful.

  • 1 pumpkin
  • Whole milk
  • Half and half
  • 1 T. butter, or more if necessary
  • 1/2 c. minced onion or leek, white parts only – or more if your pumpkin is large
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Grated natural Gruyere (not the kind that’s been processed) cheese or other Gruyere-type cheese for accompaniment
Choose a squat or round pumpkin instead of a longish one. Most importantly, be sure the pumpkin will fit into your oven.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion or leek. Sauté until they’re softened and translucent.

Cut a lid in the pumpkin and remove the seeds and strings. Fill the pumpkin up to about three inches from the top with water, then measure the water to see how much milk and cream you will need.

Blot the inside of the pumpkin with a lint-free towel to remove excess water.

Place the pumpkin on an ovenproof platter or shallow baking dish large enough to hold it.

Using equal parts whole milk and cream, bring them to a simmer. Mix in the sautéed onion and pour the combination into the pumpkin. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. The amounts will depend on the size of the pumpkin. Cover the opening as tightly as possible with foil and place the pumpkin lid on top. (The foil is to prevent the lid from falling in.) Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or longer depending on the size of the pumpkin until the flesh is cooked through.

Gently remove the lid and foil and set the lid aside. Carefully begin scooping the flesh into the liquid, being sure not to get too close to the edge. When you have scooped as much of the pumpkin flesh as you are comfortable doing and still leaving the shell secure, use a hand-held blender to purée the soup.

Check and adjust the seasonings. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve. Pass the grated cheese at the table.

The number of servings will depend on the size of the pumpkin.

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