Editor's Note: Every Wednesday this month, our fabulous intern Kerry will share an original black and orange recipe that's simple, festive, and elegant. Nothing scary about it, except the colors!
My mother calls me pumpkin because she thinks I'm sweet--and I was born in November. But, truth be told, me and my namesake gourd can be just as hot and spicy as we are sweet, so watch out.
The cinnamon in this creamy pumpkin bisque lends a pinch of tradition, while the enormous spice from the chili flakes shout an unexpected Boo! to your palate. Served in roasted pumpkin bowls, armed with crisp pumpernickel soldiers, and crowned with a sprinkling of fresh thyme stems and roasted pumpkin seeds, scooped from the cavernous pumpkins, this complex Halloween soup proves that split personalities are not only the scariest, they are also the most delicious.
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 carrot, cut into thirds
- 1 rib of celery, cut into thirds
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 14-ounce cans of pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
- 4 cups of canned vegetable broth (2 cans)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes (the soup will be spicy; use less if you prefer less spice)
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- Salt and pepper
- 4 smallish pumpkins, lids cut out and seeds removed
- 6 large slices of good pumpernickel bread, cut into soldiers
- Olive oil
For the presentation, which is optional, preheat the oven to 450°F.
Rub the cleaned pumpkins with a small drizzle of olive oil, and run the woody stems under water to that they do not burn. Place the pumpkins and lids on a baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the vegetables, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, until the vegetables become fragrant.
Add the pumpkin and stock and crushed red pepper flakes. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain the soup, removing the aromatics, and return to the pot and the heat. Stir in the cream and heat through.
For the pumpernickel soldiers, arrange the strips of bread on a baking sheet, and drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Run them into a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes, until they are crisp. Dunk away for the perfect orange and black combo.
Spoon the soup into the pumpkins, and crown with the pumpernickel soldiers, a few thyme leaves, and some fresh toasted pumpkin seeds with shells still on. Serve hot!