How To: Pumpkin Soup in a Pumpkin

I love using pumpkins throughout the fall season. It's a quintessential ingredient that can be used in multiple ways. You can roast the seeds and enjoy as a snack or on top of a salad; you can slice the pumpkin into wedges and cook for a side dish or in a pumpkin risotto; you can also puree the pumpkin into soup and serve beautifully in a small pumpkin.

Serving the pumpkin soup inside a pumpkin not only makes for a fun and festive dish, but the pumpkin shell enhances the overall flavors of the soup.

Here is how you can put this fall dish together to serve at your next holiday get-together or for dinner on a cold night (if it actually becomes cold soon).

There are two methods to serving pumpkin soup in a pumpkin. You can roast the pumpkin in the oven and cook the soup on the stove-top, then place the soup in the pumpkin just before serving, or you can roast the pumpkin with the soup in the oven to cook both at the same time. Either method works in making a delicious soup, but I prefer roasting the soup in the pumpkin. You can taste the pumpkin flavors even more when they are cooked together.

Saveur offers a wonderful recipe for cooking the soup in the pumpkin shell. The key to making the perfect pumpkin soup is using the right pumpkin. Choose a Cinderella pumpkin or a medium sugar pumpkin for best results.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the pumpkin to be filled and roasted. Just as you would carve a pumpkin to make a jack o' lantern, cut a section out of the top of the pumpkin to make a lid. This should be about four inches across the top. Remove the seeds and stringy flesh so that all you are left with is the flesh of the pumpkin.

Season the inside of the pumpkin with butter, salt and pepper.

Make your soup on the stove-top by cooking six tablespoons of butter, one large yellow onion, 1 1/2 cups of toasted bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg and sage, and a good amount of black pepper to season. Remove this mixture from the stove and add about 1/2 cup of grated Swiss cheese, or any cheese you prefer. Something with a slightly sharp flavor will work perfectly. Spoon this mixture into the pumpkin, and add enough chicken or vegetable stock (approximately four cups) so that the soup rises nearly to the top of the pumpkin. Place a bay leaf on top and seal the pumpkin shut with the lid.

Now I am sure you're wondering, where is the pumpkin in the soup? After your soup bakes in the oven for close to one and a half hours, you will scrape the sides and bottom of the pumpkin to add the pumpkin flesh to the soup, as well as 1/2 cup of heavy cream if you prefer a creamier pumpkin soup.

The soft roasted pumpkin flesh melts into the warm soup, so your pumpkin soup inside a pumpkin will be full of pumpkin flavors.

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