Monday, October 13, 2008

More Pumpkin

As I was standing near the fire place enjoying our first fall winds chatting with my 12 year old she rolled her eyes and said with total attitude “oh mommy, I’m not going to be Freddie Kruger for Halloween. I’m going to be Jason!” Gone are the days when I am making her fairy princess or Simba and Nala costumes. Before I could get too sad I suggested that we roast some pumpkin seeds together. One of my favorite fall flavors is pumpkin. I am often asked how to make a soup terrene from a Pumpkin. You can use a large pumpkin that will hold a big batch of soup you can serve family style or little ones and serve individually. I love the rich spices that go with pumpkin. Try grating fresh nutmeg with a grater or microplane. It is one of my autumn indulgences. So as your carved pumpkins might get scarier and less sweet as the kids get older enjoy these recipes and the moments you can share with friends and family.

Pumpkin and Gruyere Soup
One 5-6 pound pumpkin
1/4-cup butter
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable
2 cups heavy cream
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
1-pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
Cut pumpkin in half, Scoop out and strings and seeds. (You can roast the seeds and float them on top as a garnish and just salt and eat the rest! them) Cut away the hard peel and coarsely chop the flesh. In a large soup pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add the stock and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until pumpkin is tender. About 45 minutes. Blend or process the soup. Return the puree to pot and stir in the cream, orange, lemon, ginger. Reserve a little cheese for garnish (perhaps with some fresh sage) Sprinkle into the soup. Stir over low heat until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Cheese Risotto
7 to 8 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups white wine
1-tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 fresh sage leaves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 sage leaves for garnish

In a saucepan, heat stock to a simmer and holds at a very slow simmer. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan next to stock, heat butter and add onion. Cook over medium heat until translucent. Add rice, stir, Add wine. Stir until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid; add 1 1/2 cups hot stock. Repeat a third time adding pumpkin and sage. Repeat with another 1 1/2 cups hot stock and add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to stir until the rice has absorbed most of the stock. After about 25 to 30 minutes, taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Leave risotto a little runny before adding the cheese so it will have a creamy not stiff texture. Divide onto 4 plates or soup bowls and garnish with a sage leaf.

Pumpkin Terrene

Select a squat pumpkin rather than one that is upright for balance. Start by washing the pumpkin in warm soapy water rinse well and dry. Using a sharp knife, insert the tip about 1/3 of the way down, and cut away the top to form a lid. Scoop out the seeds Lightly oil the pumpkin inside and out and sprinkle the inside with salt. Spray a baking sheet with bakers joy. Place the pumpkin and the lid and bake at325 for about 1 to hour depending on the size of the shell. You want it slightly under baked as an over baked shell cannot handle the weight of the soup. Believe me, it is a big mess. Remove from the oven and cool. Gently scoop out some of the soft pumpkin from the wall, being careful not to puncture the shell. Scrape the cooked pumpkin from the lid as well. Ladle hot soup into the pumpkin and serve. The lid can be used as a cover or you can serve the soup uncovered.

Pumpkin Bread
3 cups sugar
1-cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 cups pumpkin, cooked and purred
Or 1 16-ounce can.
3 cups all purpose flour
1-teaspoon ground cloves
1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-teaspoon ground ginger
1-teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-teaspoon baking soda
1/2-teaspoon salt
1/2-teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons pepites or roasted pumpkin seeds
1-teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Whisk flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Mix the topping ingredients together. Sprinkle over loaves. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

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