Yeah. The title is un-original. Sorry. But, hey, it’s Fall, er I mean autumn. And that means soup. More specifically, PUMPKIN soup. So, Yes, courge must be french for pumpkin!! Now it’s time for me to let you in on why I love THIS pumpkin soup so much.
I love this recipe for a bunch of reasons…. first… I found it!!! Yay me!!! Second, it’s french, and I just LOVE french cooking. For some reason or other the traditional french chefs have always been amazing at taking very simple elements and making them just shine. For example, this recipe has only 7 ingredients INCLUDING the salt and pepper….. yet it produces a very flavourful, rich and satisfying soup. The third reason I love this recipe is that the process of making it is a little unusual, and anyone who knows me is aware that “unusual” is secret code for “Duane will love this shit!!!!!”
The real reason I love this recipe sooooo much though, (I mean other than the fact that is is just sooooo damn tasty), is that fact that is was so unexpected. Truthfully, I convinced Todd to try it out on a whim. You see, at the time, I was working in an environment with a couple of vegetarian colleagues, and food discussions were particularly difficult for me, you know…. seeing as how I LOVE MEAT SO EFFing MUCH and all….. Being that I love food AND I love talking, this was kind of stressful for me. I even made a mistake or two, and discovered just how weak a “vegan” can be when there’s real shortbread cookies at the nursing station (but that’s a whole other story and recipe!!!! Maybe later we will get to that one….) So one day as I was shopping at my favourite home store (HomeSense), I came across a vegetarian cookbook, and this recipe was just a little quirky, and I had no choice…… I had to buy the book right? (yeah, we all know how hard it is to get me to spend a dollar…..). That’s when my love for this soup was born. Honestly, I look forward to the fall just for this soup. It’s only Oct 10 and today as I write this blog post we are already preparing to make this soup for the SECOND time this season….. I’m telling you…. If I wasn’t already married….. I’d marry this soup!!!!
Trust me, you haven’t had soup like his before…. How do I know? Well just one simple question first and then I will tell you,
“When was the last time you made a soup IN THE OVEN?”
Oh, Wait…. Second question…..
“When was the last time you baked a soup IN A PUMPKIN SHELL?”
Yeah. I thought so….. but trust me it’s worth it. Really it it is…..
YOU WILL NEED:
- One “kick ass” pumpkin (make sure it’s a “pie” pumpkin…. I’ve heard rumours that “jack-o-lanterns” don’t taste great….) After it was “gutted” ours was 1.6kg
- A “shit tonne” of coarsely grated Greyer Cheese (yeah….. sorry this one isn’t really THAT budget friendly….) (seems a “shit tonne= 140g in my household since the calorie counting has begun)
- AS MANY CROUTONS AS YOU CAN FIND/MAKE (calorie conscious folk can use 75g)
- Some dairy product……. (milk? Cream? oh but please God…. make sure it’s not skim ok?????). When we first discovered this recipe, it was in our “pre-calorie counting
dietingdays, so we would use heavy cream, trust me, if I have the room in my calorie plan I would still reach for the cream, but it is still perfectly great with milk instead!! It usually takes us about 3 cups (of course this depends on the size of the pumpkin you choose, so come on people, use your brain…. that’s why the great spaghetti monster in the sky gave you one right?)
- A shallot (you can never have too much, but between 50-70g is good)
- Salt and (white) pepper to taste
OK…NOW we are ready to start……
- Hack the top off your pumpkin (make sure you cut the top off carefully so that it can still fit back on like a lid…. and scoop out the seeds and guts. Todd made me type this…. he’s sitting in the corner right now with his head about to explode because he can’t seem to understand that you CAN use sarcasm when writing a recipe…..) SO TO BE CLEAR….. insert your very sharp high end kitchen knife into the top of your pumpkin at a 45 degree angle and slowly and carefully work your way around until your perfectly symmetrical pumpkin “lid” is formed. Do not have fun when performing this step. Do not listen to music. Do not think happy thoughts. And for heaven’s sake…. don’t make goofy faces like me…. it will RUIN EVERYTHING!!!!!
- Wipe the inside with a little olive oil (wipe the outside too so it doesn’t burn).
- Season the inside with the salt and pepper…..
- Layer croutons and greyer cheese in alternating layers until the pumpkin is 3/4 way full.
- Chop shallot using your sharpest knife (and making sure you do not add any DNA from your fingers….. guests seem to hate having your blood in their soup…. trust me….).
- Warm (ALMOST simmer) milk/cream with shallot to infuse flavour. Just before the milk starts to simmer, turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Strain the cream/milk mixture to remove the shallot pieces
- Pour milk/cream into pumpkin until cheese and croutons are covered…. Seal the top of your pumpkin with your “laser accurate” pumpkin lid you cut earlier.
- Place on baking sheet and bake in oven at 400 F until pumpkin is tender all the way through.
- Using a spoon scrape the pumpkin flesh away from it’s tough outer skin and mix it into the cream/cheese/crouton mixture. You can choose to leave this very chunky and “stew” like, or you can also use an immersion blender and “smooth out” the consistency.
Now, you have to remember that each and every pumpkin will be a little different. Some will have more flesh (read: the end result will be a thicker soup). Some will have a higher water content (read: the soup will be thinner). You can always add a little more warmed milk/cream to thin out a thick soup. Of course, you can always add a few more croutons to thicken it should it be too thin as well… So I guess I’m saying DON’T WORRY!!! There is a solution to EVERYTHING!!!! (well maybe not everything…. Todd tells me repeatedly that you can always ADD salt, but its kinda hard to remove it….. seems though that I read somewhere that if you simply boil whatever you are dealing with a little longer with a potato in the pot it WILL remove some of the salt…. so either the internet is wrong…. or Todd is….. and we all know that THE INTERNET CAN NEVER BE WRONG RIGHT????).
So. Now that I’ve shared the recipe for one of my favourite soups with you I must first make a confession, and then give you an apology. I’ll confess that I don’t really care about the calorie count for this recipe. Yeah, I know, I know, here I am trying to lose some weight and all, counting every calorie that crosses my lips, showing you all the nutritional values for the recipes that Todd and I post blah,blah, BLAH…… (confession complete). Apology? Well I’m just sorry that an accurate calorie count is difficult to do because each and every pumpkin varies in weight, the amount of milk required changes depending on the internal volume of the pumpkin, and the amount of croutons required to thicken the soup will be different each and every time…… BUT. I can tell you that the LAST time we made this soup the most accurate calorie count we could determine would have been 224 calories per cup of soup. Sure, it’s not a “light” soup. But once you try it and realize how “stick to your ribs good” it is, and how it fills your stomach and makes it feel really happy (unless you are lactose intolerant or celiac of course) you will understand just how worthwhile those calories can be!!!!
Thank you for reading…..
(I must go and find a marriage counsellor to repair the damage this blog post has caused my marriage now….. thank you all very much!!! LOL)