French Pumpkin Soup
- Yield 8 servings
- Prep 20 mins
- Cook 100 mins
A thick, chunky soup that warms a chill fall evening with gusto.
The heavy, dense flesh of the pumpkin helps it to hold its shape during baking. As it cooks, its juices are slowly released into the stock, where the flavor intensifies.
- 8 to 10 pounds Rouge vif d'Etamps (Cinderella) pumpkin
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3 leeks, white part and 2 inches of green, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
- 6 (1-inch thick) slices country bread, torn into bite-sized pieces and toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
- 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cut off top of pumpkin, creating a lid about 4 inches in diameter. Scoop out seeds and strings. Rub cut side of lid and inside of pumpkin with 1 tablespoon butter. Season lid and inside of pumpkin with half the salt and place pumpkin, cut side up, in a deep baking dish or pan that you can bring to the table. Set lid aside.
- Melt remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add toasted bread and sprinkle with sage, nutmeg, remaining salt and pepper. Stir well and remove from heat.
- Spoon a layer of bread mixture into pumpkin. Sprinkle a layer of cheese on top. Repeat layers with remaining bread mixture and cheese. Pour in stock to within 1 inch of the rim. Lay bay leaves on top, and then fit lid onto pumpkin.
- Bake until pumpkin begins to soften and brown on the outside and stock bubbles, 11/2 to 2 hours. Carefully remove baking dish from the oven.
- With a long-handled spoon, scrape flesh from bottom and sides of pumpkin into soup, being careful not to puncture walls. Ladle soup, including tender chunks of pumpkin, into warmed bowls and serve.
Reprinted with permission from The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market Cookbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Impeccable Produce Plus Seasonal Recipes by Peggy Knickerbocker and Christopher Hirsheimer (Chronicle Books, 2006).