Roasted Pumpkin Soup in Baby Squash Bowls

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Let’s just say I’ve fallen for pumpkin this season — not the canned stuff or the latte syrup (though they have their place, no doubt), but instead, I’m cooking every style of gourd and shape of squash imaginable. And now my friend Sean has raised the bar in such an elegant way. I know what you’re making this weekend. -Maggie

Pumpkins are a glimmer of hope in the grey days of autumn. They are the color of a July sunset over the ocean; a rust orange sky long gone. I become a bit fanatical about winter squashes, buying all that I see until the kitchen is fully decorated with the strange bulbous ornaments. My solution is soup, a great way to use up squashes and pumpkins when they start to take over. When I can choose, I prefer the smaller ones, as they tend to pack in more flavor.

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A winter squash soup recipe should be a part of any cook’s repertoire. The ability to create a velvety, smooth, and rich meal from just a few basic cupboard ingredients and seasonal squashes is home cooking at it’s best. It’s the kind of dish you throw together when the shops seem just a little too far away.

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The transformation of squashes once in the oven is magical – the flesh softens and shrinks, turns into sticky cubes with a burnt sugar crust. There’s no escaping their sweetness (though why would you want to?), so if using them in savory cooking, I’m always liberal with the chili and spice. The idea behind the dukkah is to cut through that sweetness and add depth and contrast. A few cubes of Gruyere, thrown in at the last possible second, wouldn’t go amiss here either.

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The edible bowls add a touch of spectacle to what’s effectively a simple, wholesome soup. By roasting a few whole small squashes or pumpkins, you suddenly have both beautiful presentation and a heartier meal. As you drink the soup, you can scrape away the roasted flesh from your bowl, and eat that too.

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Roasted Pumpkin Soup in Baby Squash Bowls

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

For the Soup
  • 4 medium/2 large pumpkins or squashes, deseeded, for roasting
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 freshly grated nutmeg, divided
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 small pumpkins or squashes, kept whole, for bowls
  • Unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 25 ounces vegetable stock
  • 15 ounces whole milk
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 tablespoons double cream
  • Yogurt, croutons, cheese, for serving
For the Dukkah
  • 5 ounces sesame seeds
  • 3 1/2 ounces coriander seeds
  • 2 ounces pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 ounces Green peppercorns
  • 1 ounce cumin seeds
  • Sea salt, to taste

Directions:

Make the Soup
  1. Preheat the oven to 420°F. Cut the roasting pumpkins in half, discarding the fiber and seeds, then proceed to roughly cube into about 1-inch pieces. Place on a roasting tray, and toss with the olive oil, half the nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 25 minutes or until tender (you may need to drop the temperature slightly if the pieces are browning too quickly).
  2. Next prepare the pumpkin ‘bowls’. Cut off the pumpkin tops like you would a Jack-O-Lantern, removing the fiber and seeds. Rub the pumpkins inside and out with oil, seasoning the insides with salt and pepper. Replace the "lids" and place on a baking tray. Once your pumpkin cubes are finished cooking, slide the whole pumpkins in the oven, and drop the temperature to 350°F. The pumpkin bowls will take around 45 minutes. For the last 10 minutes of cooking, remove the lids.
  3. Place a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add a curl of butter. Add the onions and caramelize slowly for about 10 to 15 minutes. Throw in the chili and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes. Scoop out the cooked flesh from the wedges, leaving the skin behind. Add the pumpkin flesh to the saucepan, then the vegetable stock and milk. Bring up to a simmer then season with salt, pepper, thyme and the remaining nutmeg. Once simmering, leave for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the liquid from the heat and let cool for a while. Place in a blender and pulse until smooth but not quite a puree. You may have to do this in batches. Pour the soup back into a saucepan. Once all blended, reheat on a low heat, add the cream and season to taste. Keep warm until the baby pumpkin bowls are ready.
Make the Dukkah
  1. Place all the whole seeds on a roasting tray and heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, until they have a little color. Remove from the oven and pound all the seeds with a pestle and mortar, leaving the dukkah coarse, and season with a bit of salt. Do not over pound, or the mix will turn to a wet paste. Set aside.
Assemble the Soup
  1. Place the bowls onto plates and ladle in the soup. Liberally sprinkle the dukkah on top and place the lids back on. The lids will keep the soup warm for quite some time. You can top the soup with yogurt, croutons, cheese, or just the dukkah.
Photos taken and styled by Sean St. John.

Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic StudioFollow Maggie Battista on Instagram.

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