Monday, October 11, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls

In order to continue with my fall themed cooking for this month, I decided to make a butternut squash soup for dinner.  However, in order to relate the dinner even more to the season of fall, I cut open and cleaned out two pumpkins to use as the bowls for the soup (I thought it was a great twist on the bread bowl).  The pumpkins and the soup smelled so delicious and tasted even better! I will definitely be making this again.  It is a decent amount of work to clean out the pumpkins and prep the ingredients, but trust me; the end product is well worth the effort! Plus, you get a two for one deal because you can cook the leftover pumpkin seeds for a tasty snack.

Butternut Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls (Recipe adapted from the Food Network)

Ingredients: 

For the Bowls:
-4 small baking pumpkins (such as sugar pumpkins), acorn squash, or sweet dumpling squash
-2 teaspoons sugar
-Salt

For the Soup:
-1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1 small onion, chopped
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon thyme 
-2 teaspoons sugar
-5 cups water (or 3 cups water and 2 cups chicken stock) 
-3 Tbsp heavy cream (optional)
-Salt and pepper to taste

For the Toppings (as desired):
-Pumpkin seeds
-Sourdough and/or pumpernickel croutons
-Paprika or chili powder
-Crisp prosciutto, ham, or bacon
-Fried onions
-Fried sage or parsley leaves 

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and begin making your bowls.  Using a paring knife, cut a medium to large sized circle around the stem of each pumpkin (you can use all 4 pumpkins, but since there were only two of us dining the night I made these, I just carved out two pumpkins and refilled them when we finished our first serving of soup).  


Remove the lids and scoop out all the seeds and fibers.  Save the pumpkin seeds so you can season and cook them later.  Sprinkle the inside of each pumpkin with a 1/2-teaspoon to a teaspoon of sugar and salt.  Place the pumpkins and their lids on a baking sheet and put in the oven.  Cook for about 20-35 minutes depending on the size of your pumpkins. 


Now, you can begin making your soup.  Peel and cut your squash and set aside.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the chopped onions, 1 teaspoon of salt, and thyme into the pot.  Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes).  Add the squash and sugar and stir until glazed (about 3-4 minutes).  Add 5 cups of water (or 3 cups water and 2 cups chicken stock) and bring to a boil.  Once the soup boils, reduce to low heat and let simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. 


Once the squash is ready, working in batches, transfer some of the squash and liquid to a blender a little at a time, otherwise you will have soup all over your kitchen.  Puree the soup until smooth and pour back into another saucepan.  Continue with the rest of the squash and liquid.  Once all of the soup is pureed, stir in the heavy cream if desired.  Season with as much salt and pepper as you like.  I find that it needs more salt for my taste, but everyone is different! 

Pour the soup into the pumpkin bowls and top as desired.  I used paprika, bacon, pumpernickel croutons, and parsley to garnish.  Absolutely mouthwatering! This would be a great recipe to entertain guests with if having a fall and/or Halloween get together. 


Now, if you saved those pumpkin seeds then it is time to season them up! Make sure your pumpkin seeds are mostly clean (it is okay if some of the pumpkin fibers are left on since they add flavor).  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Meanwhile, add the seeds to a bowl and stir in olive oil and/or butter (a few teaspoons to a tablespoon, depending on your taste), and salt and pepper to taste.  I prefer just using those 3 ingredients, but you can season the seeds with whatever you like.  Garlic salt, for example, is a popular seasoning for the pumpkin seeds.   

When ready, place the seeds on a baking sheet and spread them out so that they are all lying flat out on the pan.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Let them cool completely and enjoy! They are so simple to make and a great way to use up all those leftover pumpkin seeds.  



If you are from the Massachusetts/New Hampshire area, then I suggest going to Smolak Farms in North Andover, MA, Applecrest Farm in Hampton Falls, NH, and Mann Orchards in Methuen, MA to shop for your apples and pumpkins.  I hope you enjoyed these great fall recipes and remember to check back soon as I will continue to post more fall dishes throughout the month! 

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2 comments:

  1. Love the soup recipe, and what a great idea to serve in the pumpkins, will be so attractive on the table.

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