* As part of our ongoing Stretch Gardening series, we have invited some of our favorite garden bloggers to contribute to the Garden Club. This week we feature Diane LaSauce, of “home, garden, life“, showing us how to take harvest decor and transform it into a delicious addition to your holiday menu, as she turns a simple pumpkin into an elegant soup. *
Fall delivers shapely pumpkins to home gardens and farmer’s markets. I frequently select a beautiful Cinderella variety when I can find one, as I relate to her story about work, work, work, during the holidays. The one featured in this post is actually a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, which also has wonderful flavor.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I created a luscious soup recipe to share with my dedicated blog followers. It gracefully transitions traditional Halloween décor into a memorable starter or a main course. This pretty pumpkin decorated my front stoop from October until this morning, when she came inside for a final shower.
Next she succumbed to the ice pick.
Cool this beauty before removing seeds and skin.
When the roasted pumpkin feels tender to the touch, let it cool and then remove the meat from the skin, separating the seeds and string, all while avoiding spills of the copious liquid. Alternatively, simply cut the pumpkin into huge wedges, seed, and then roast. I vaguely remember doing this last year and most the liquid evaporated, making the pulp removal a breeze.
Sauté a large, peeled/sliced sweet white onion in 2T olive oil. Add 1-1/2 lbs. of pumpkin pulp that has been drained in a strainer. Then add 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth (I use an organic broth), and sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add one Bartlett pear that has been peeled, seeded, and sliced. Remove the mixture from the heat for 10 minutes. Use a stick blender to puree the contents in the pot, or, for a finer texture, process in a blender, working in batches. Add 2 tablespoons sweet butter to finish.
Serve in pretty cups garnished with chives and cilantro. Serves 6.
Freeze any remaining roasted pulp in 2 cup containers, as this is the perfect portion for more soups or pumpkin pie. Cooks Illustrated Magazine has a perfect pumpkin pie recipe that calls for cooking the pulp a bit more to remove additional liquid…a super solution.
Ready for the freezer.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Diane notes: This pumpkin is a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, an heirloom variety. Another favorite to use is the Rouge Vif D’Etampes, if you can find it.