December 09, 2010

Alton Brown's Whole Pumpkin Pie Soup

Today the pumpkin soup Alton Brown made in a recent Good Eats episode is pulling double duty. One, of course, I am going to tell everyone about my experience making it. And second as part of Share Our Strength: Share Our Holiday Table a progressive virtual dinner where food bloggers contribute dishes to help raise awareness and funds for the SOS program. View the entire list of the good folks using their blogs to make a difference here. My dish for the dinner party is soup.

Any viewer of Food Network knows it is a partner with the organization to help end childhood hunger in America. As a viewer and AB or Good Eats fan, think a moment about this wonderful organization's mission and help out with contribution.

After seeing the pumpkin episode, I knew the whole pumpkin pie soup would be an interesting dish to try. First came procuring the pumpkins. Surprisingly, after Halloween all of the megamarts here stop selling all pumpkins, not just the Jack-o-lantern style. There was nary a sweet pie gourd to be located. My mom asked a produce man at a Kroger if they had any pie pumpkins. His reply, "The season is over. Good luck finding one."

I then remembered the Capitol Market, that's Charleston's farmers market. Lo and behold sitting outside of the Purple Onion, a bin of sweet pie pumpkins! I scarfed up a few!

On to making the soup. I didn't rush out an buy a drywall saw to open the top of the gourd. My serrated bread knife worked just fine. Besides if you've carved up a few Jack-o-lanterns in your day, this step is easy. Clean out the seeds and membrane and you are ready to go. The ice cream spade does work well in this case, I had an old one not used for ice cream anymore because it didn't work that well. I saved the seeds to roast later, a yummy and healthy treat!

Lube up the outside of the pumpkin with oil and place in a baking vessel. This was a tricky spot for me. I planned to use my souffle dish like AB did in the episode, but the kitchen is currently in a messy state because of a broken washing machine and I couldn't get to my casserole dishes. So I had to make do. I devised that baking the pumpkin in my saucier would work because the shape was about the same. Turns out, it worked wonderfully.

The only thing I didn't like about the soup was the goat cheese. I don't have the taste for it, tried it a long time ago and didn't like it then. At first, tasting the cheese from the package it seemed ok. But the heat of baking it 30 minutes must have intensified the flavor and made it too strong for my liking. Next time it will be sans goat cheese.




Whole Pumpkin Pie Soup

Serves:
4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

* 1 whole baking pumpkin, approximately 4 pounds, rinsed
* 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 small apple, peeled, cored, and diced
* 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 2 ounces goat cheese
* 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Directions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Make a lid on the top of the pumpkin by cutting around the stem at a 45 degree angle. Make sure the opening is large enough to work within. Remove the seeds and fibers with a metal spoon or ice cream scoop and kitchen shears. Reserve the seeds for another use. Brush the exterior of the pumpkin and the lid with vegetable oil. Oil a round casserole dish large enough to hold the pumpkin and place the pumpkin inside.

Combine the butter, onion, salt, garlic, apples, chicken broth, and heavy cream in the hollow pumpkin. Replace the lid of the pumpkin to cover. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the lid. Add the goat cheese and thyme and bake an additional 30 minutes, uncovered. Remove the pumpkin from the oven, and gently scrape some of the flesh into the soup mixture. Puree with an immersion blender to desired consistency, being careful to avoid the sides and bottom of the pumpkin. Serve immediately.

4 comments:

Michelle (What's Cooking with Kids) said...

I love that we had your participation on this Share our Strength progressive party! Thanks for helping to end childhood hunger.

Carol Peterman/TableFare said...

I love the idea of making soup right in the pumpkin!

Ellen said...

Soup right in the pumpkin! One less dish to clean! Love the soup. Love AB. So glad I was able to add my Salad recipe to the SOS event!

Sean Grey Hanson said...

Pumpkin soup would go well especially when added with so many spices.