Monday, November 2, 2009

Market Fresh: Pumpkin

This week we will be focusing on pumpkins. So it was only fitting that the market fresh would also be about pumpkin. Mine came from a local orchard and pumpkin patch. It is a pie pumpkin which makes is smaller and very good for eating.


Roasting a pumpkin (or squash) is very easy. It takes about 45 minutes - 1 hour depending upon the size. To begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out all the seeds. The seeds can be set aside for roasting separately.


Place pumpkin halves on a greased baking sheet face down. Prick skin with a fork. Put in the oven.


Roast for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until a paring knife inserted does not meet resistance. Remove from the oven at let cool. Scoop flesh (or "meat") of the pumpkin leaving behind only the outer skin. Puree and use in recipes or you can freeze it. Fresh pumpkin can tend to be stringy, so the pureeing will help elimate that texture.


The recipe I want to share is a savory one. It combines butternut squash with the pumpkin in a soup. My kids absolutely loved this - even my one year old. Oh and my husband and I liked it, too. It is suitable as a starter course for a meal, with a salad for lunch, or served alongside a sandwich for lunch or dinner.


1 - 2-3 lb. pie pumpkin, roasted
1 - 1 lb. butternut squash, roasted
2 Tb. olive oil
1 lg. onion, diced
2 med. carrots, peeled and diced
2 lg. cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (fresh ground if you have it)
1 1/2 qt. vegetable or chicken stock (I used veg.)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 generous Tb. butter
1/3 c. heavy cream (plus extra for serving)

Heat olive oil in stock pot and saute onion and carrots for about 10 minutes or until the onion is mostly translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the spices and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the stock, pumpkin meat, and squash meat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Puree soup using an immersion blender* or blending it in batches in a stand blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finish by stirring in butter and cream. Serve with a bit of cream drizzled on top. Enjoy!

Makes 6-8 servings


*I love my immersion blender! I remember the first time I did a pureed soup before I had one and I overfilled the blender and ended up with cream of broccoli soup ALL OVER the kitchen. Anyway, I use it all the time for pureeing sauces and  soups. If it broke, I would definitely replace it. It reduces the number of dishes and is so simple to use. So, I highly recommend an immersion blender (stick blender) - it's easy to store, fairly easy to clean, and worth the investment.

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