52 Projects is an adventure in discovery. Every week, for 52 weeks, do something. Something you’ve never done before. Something you’ve always wanted to do. Something that scares you. Something that inspires you. Something that inspires others. Something that tickles your fancy. Something that caught your eye. Something that just popped into your head. It can be big. It can be small. It can be whatever you want it to be. Find out how doing something can lead you to discover things about yourself, your world, your God. Then, come here on Sundays and share it with others. I'll write about mine here, you write about yours on your blog, then use the tool in my post to link to your something. Please feel free to jump in and participate anytime throughout the year!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Week 39: making something with fresh pumpkin
So here's the thing. I didn't want to make the obvious pumpkin pie. I wanted to think outside the box a little and yesterday provided the perfect opportunity for something a little edgy and different: Pumpkin Bisque. I invited my parents over for a little family dinner party for my dad's birthday and the bisque was going to be our starter. Perfect.
A pie pumpkin is much smaller and dense than a regular carving pumpkin. When you look for a pie pumpkin, make sure it is marked as such. When I started out on my project yesterday, I assumed that that pie pumpkins are as easy to cut in to as a carving pumpkin. Boy was I mistaken. The denseness of a pie pumpkin almost feels like a coconut. Breen had to take two of them outside and crack them open with a big cleaver. You can even see the grass from the front lawn.
I washed off the seeds and grass and placed them in a steamer basket and cooked them for about 15-20 minutes.
When the pumpkin can be pierced with a fork, it's time to take them out of the steamer and scoop the flesh out of the shell. Obviously, discard the shell. For this recipe, I needed 3 1/2 cups of fresh pumpkin which turned out to be almost 2 of the pie pumpkins.
Next, you take out a stock pot and saute some onions, leeks, celery and garlic in a little bit of butter until soft. Lots of fresh pepper and kosher salt to taste.
After the onion mixture is softened, you add the pumpkin flesh, herbs and 2 quarts of chicken stock. Let it come to a boil, cover the pot and let it cook on low for about 20 minutes. Remove the herbs and take a few ladles of the broth mixture at a time and puree it in a blender until all the soup is smooth (I learned the hard way that if you fill up the blender too much, it will explode all over the kitchen). I added a bit of half and half, some shakes of Parmesan cheese and a few pinches of nutmeg. I even tried to thicken it a bit by melting some butter and flour and adding it to the bisque. Also, the addition of 3 tablespoons of cooking sherry really elevated this soup to greatness.
I have to say that this soup was delicious! Even the kids loved it. There is a nice earthy flavor from the herbs and the flavors of the other ingredients give it a perfect balanced flavor. I think there was an initial hesitancy to try this because we are so conditioned to think of pumpkin for sweet desserts only. But I'm so glad I was adventurous here. I highly recommend making this soup!
Here is the original recipe.
What did you do this week?