Each fall, we put up a fair sized seasonal display- pumpkins, gourds, mums, baskets, etc.- at our Townsend TN Bed and Breakfast‘s front entrance. While it is lovely, you can thank pesky raccoons for this recipe. They found us a couple of years ago and started nibbling on all the edibles. AND they wouldn’t clear their plate, a nibble here, and a nibble there. Kind of like “Taste of Chicago”, little bites to taste everything. It was driving my mom crazy, and she started bringing some gourds inside. One day she sat down and started reading James McNair’s cookbook, Squash, and came up with Creamy Winter Squash Soup. The pumpkin shown has been sitting on our laundry room counter for 3 months. Had a soup supper last night at church so, Mom decided to give me a little more folding space in the laundry room and whacked into it!
4 Tbsp butter
1 medium to large onion, chopped
(original recipe called for 1 C of chopped leeks and ½ C of chopped shallots)
1-½ pounds pumpkin or other winter squash, which is about 3 C pureed cook pumpkin
1-quart chicken stock
1 C whipping cream or half and half
1 C orange juice, I like the OJ with heavy pulp or fresh squeeze your own and zest
it before you squeeze it reserving the zest for the garnish below.
1 tsp ground ginger
Salt to taste
Fresh round white pepper to taste
Cream fraiche or sour cream
Toasted pumpkin seeds or
Maybe some orange zest
Squashes other than pumpkin may be used (butternut or hubbard or buttercup) with good results. Cut up your pumpkin into large pieces, maybe 4 or 5, and scoop out the seeds and stringy portion. Place on a cookie sheet with sides, and put a cup or so of water on the tray, cover with foil and cook at 350° until tender but still holds its shape. Remove from oven.
In a large heavy saucepan, melt your butter over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté till tender about 8 minutes. Scoop out the pumpkin from the shell and add to the pot along with the chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer until squash is very tender, about 30 minutes.
We use a Hamilton Hand Blender right in the pot and beat until smooth. (If you don’t have a hand blender, transfer to a blender in batches and blend.) Add cream, orange juice and spices. Place over medium heat until hot, but don’t boil. Serves 6.
TIP: If you want to toast the pumpkin seeds, you could spend all day trying to get the stringy orange stuff off. Instead place a half a cup in a colander and run cool water over them. It will separate the seeds from the orange stuff and you can pick the orange stringy stuff right out. Place the seeds on a cookie sheet with sides. Sprinkle generously with salt and bake in a 300° oven till crisp. Check every 10 minutes and stir with a spatula. Don’t worry about drying the seeds before placing them in the oven, the moisture helps.
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