Provence Style Pumpkin Soup

An original recipe by Andie, 11/5/97

Two pumpkins required. One to cook for the soup, one to hold the soup.
‡‡‡‡‡ ( The “bowl” pumpkin does not have to be a pie or sugar pumpkin.)

Flesh from a medium large sugar or “soup” pumpkin, 3-4 cups, approximately. (PRE-COOKED)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons Herbes de Provence seasoning
1/3 cup shallots, cut into small dice
or 1/2 cup onion
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup apple jelly
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream (or half and half if you want less fat) You can also use sour cream.

Preheat your pan and melt the butter.
Add the shallots and ginger and sauté over medium heat for about 4 minutes.
Add the herbs de Provence and the nutmeg, continue cooking for another minute or so, stirring constantly.
Add the apple jelly and stir until it has melted and blended with the other ingredients.
Pour in the chicken stock and increase the heat until it is simmering,
Reduce the heat and add the pumpkin.

Cook at a low simmer for about 20 minutes.

Either use an immersion blender to puree the contents or remove a cup or two at a time and blend in a blender until it is smooth.
Return pureed soup to the pot, bring to a simmer and whisk in the cream.

While the soup is simmering, cut the top off the second pumpkin, remove the seeds and scrape the inside well.
Pour two quarts of boiling salted water into the pumpkin, swirl it around and pour into sink, allow to drain upside down until ready to use.

Place the pumpkin shell in a bowl to hold it steady, ladle in the soup and serve with croutons, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds or finely chopped toasted nuts.
‡‡(A pumpkin in which to serve the soup is not necessary, it just makes a nice touch and is a good way to use an extra pumpkin, particularly the non-pie or sugar pumpkins sold at Halloween.)

Variation: If you have onion confit (caramelized onions) on hand, you may substitute them for the shallots or onion in the recipe. Use 2/3s cup and add with the apple jelly, just before adding the chicken stock.

This recipe does not have to be limited to pumpkin. Any winter squash, Hubbard, acorn, butternut, banana, turban or even some of the more exotic squashes, may be used.
I have also made it with sweet potatoes, using the “white” variety.

Croutons to go with the soup.

Cinnamon spice Croutons

Preheat oven to 400° F.

5 slices French or sourdough bread (hearty artisan bread) cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes.

3 Tablespoons melted butter

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Place bread cubes in a bowl. Add the melted butter and toss to coat cubes evenly.

Sprinkle spices and salt over the cubes and toss until evenly distributed.

Spread evenly on a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.

Prepare no more than a day ahead, crisp briefly in hot oven if not crisp when ready to serve.

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