Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Three Ways

I mentioned that I love to buy pumpkins & squash from Don at the Corona del Mar market.  He has a nice selection of Fairytale and Kabocha each year, and he give them to me for super cheap or even for free, and I appreciate that.  He also sells sliced Fairytale, like you get in France.  This is nice because you often don’t need a whole squash, you need a slice or two.  Next weekend I am bringing a stack of printed recipes to set out in Don’s booth, as each time I am in line some one or three asks me “how do you cook that…?”  Don knows how to cook them but he can’t repeat himself all day long at his advanced age and as he runs the triple booth himself.

Here are three recipes that I use each year; perhaps they can work for you.  I will see next weekend if these also work for the market shoppers!



One large slice of Fairytale pumpkin or Kabocha or Butternut squash (about 2 1/2 - 3” of rind), cubed into chunks
One small red onion or shallot (the size of a golf ball or smaller), peeled and cut into quarters
One fresh Bay Leaf
About 2 cups of chicken stock
Nutmeg or spices as desired
Chives, fresh cream, olive oil or croutons for garnish as desired

{this is enough for three small cups of soup; increase quantities as needed}

Remove the pumpkin flesh from the rind.  Cube into roughly 1 1/2” pieces.  Place in a stove-top pot with one small red onion cut into quarters and one fresh bay leaf.  Cover the squash with chicken stock (tip: when you have eaten a whole roast chicken, simmer the carcass with celery and carrots and herbs for 20 minutes or more to make your own stock, then freeze in a ziploc bag for sauces or soups like this).


Here I am using the Fairytale pumpkin.  The reason the French also love this variety is because it has the closest taste and color to the butternut squash. I promise you will not feel like you are eating Jack-O-Lantern Soup.  You can also use Kabocha, Butternut or other squash.  The Fairytale is to the Jack-O-Lantern as the Cepe is to the Paris Blanc mushroom.  Yet another example of French specificity in their foods, and as always, with great reason~ 

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Cook over medium heat until the squash is fork tender.  Remove the bay leaf.  Process the squash and onion and stock in a “robot” at the French say….Cuisinart, blender or mini-prep, to puree. Here I added a dollop of cream to the blend too, then top with a few chives, a small drizzle of olive oil, and croutons, in pretty tea cups.  Often, just a cup of soup is enough.  You can add salt and pepper or nutmeg to your taste, but here I just let the flavor of the stock come through since I use  a lot of thyme in my chicken stock.  You can also garnish with a thin stream of cream.  This was pretty to serve, and even Mom ate this up, while Dad managed to eat the whole bowl of accompanying croutons after the soup~



This is a very basic recipe from a Provencal book I have had forever.  You can make the soup and serve it in the same tureen, or you can do like I did at the last dinner and make the soup ahead of time and serve it in another squash for effect.  It’s a little more rich, given the cream, but tasty with the garlic.

One medium sized Fairytale pumpkin
Eight to ten medium cloves of garlic, peeled
Enough cream to fill most of the pumpkin, about two cups
Four or more bread slices, French sourdough if possible

I am using two kinds of pumpkins here; the same steps apply regardless if you want to use the original squash for the tureen or a “fresh one.”  Slice around the top of the pumpkin; just as with a Jack-O-Lantern, at a slight angle to create a lid~


The top will come out to reveal the seeds and flesh; remove those so that the inside is clean~


Cut the top down by half so that the lid comes out easily~


Notch the top so that a ladle can fit easily in the cavity~


Tear up four slices of bread and add them to the cavity, crust and all~

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Add the garlic cloves and fill the cavity 3/4 full with fresh cream.  Bake at 400 on a cookie sheet or tray until the flesh is tender inside; this varies widely by the squash, I’d say about 45 minutes to one hour but it varies.  You want the shape to be still firm but the flesh cooked inside.  Ladle the cream and bread and garlic out in to the robot or blender, and gently scoop out the cooked pumpkin or squash flesh and add to the blender and puree the whole mix then add back into the pumpkin shell.  Add or adjust spices as needed.  A pinch of nutmeg is often all you’ll need.  So much to remember, but try not to touch the shell of the pumpkin as when it is cooked it will be soft and your fingerprints will show.

The trick is to know the shape of the pumpkin or squash….that is, the Fairytale is shallow at the bottom and wide at the sides and shoulder.  If in doubt, or if you have an “important” dinner, save yourself the anxiety and make this ahead of time and just use another pumpkin for a tureen (add the soup to a second cleaned pumpkin and bake for half an hour or until the soup is hot, no one will know and you will look like a brilliant hostess….I serve the pumpkin on a silver tray with a thick French dishtowel under the pumpkin, and of course a big French silver ladle.   Disaster is when you pierce the side of the pumpkin while removing the flesh, and then your show is over.  You will want to try this a time or two….but once you have done it once, you will get the hang of it.  Here is the cooked Fairytale, ready for scooping and puree~

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I got this yellow pumpkin at Rogers Gardens, before the party at Sis’ house. I love the color, but was desperate to know what the flesh looked like.  Hein, it was not so great.  I decided to bake it anyway and made a quadruple batch of pumpkin bread out of it.

“Wet” Ingredients:

2 cups baked pumpkin
2 eggs
2/3 cup oil (I used Crisco)
2 cups water

“Dry” Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups Self-Rising Flour
1/2 teaspoon of whatever spices you like: I use cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spices, ginger and cloves
Chopped walnuts or pecans to taste or if desired.

Slice the pumpkin and clean the seeds and fibers out of the inside.  Set two or three slices on a sheet of tin foil and give a quick drizzle of olive oil for hydration, then wrap the foil up tight over the squash. 


By the way, I have saved all the seeds.  Hopefully these are non –GMO and I can grow my own next year, as can all my friends~


Bake at 350 until tender. Let cool then scoop from the rind. Use just the amount of pumpkin in the recipe; if you over-do it you will have a mushy bread!


Add the Dry Ingredients to the Wet Ingredients and mix thoroughly.  We use Guy’s Copper Bowl and mix by hand.  While Mom does not like Pumpkin Soup, she loves Pumpkin bread.  Though she deemed this to be “not sweet enough” so we added half a cup of honey, and Mom then got back to mixing with her “good arm”~


I do not puree the baked pumpkin, I just whisk it all together.  You will get a batter like this~


In the end, I am not really crazy about the taste of this particular squash.  No matter, my sister will come tonight to pick up the eight loaves, and she will use them for her family for lunches and breakfast for the next few weeks~


Let me know if you try any of these recipes and what you like.  I have a busy week ahead but lots still to tell you…hope your week gets off to a great start~


  1. Good morning A!
    I have kind of dropped out of blog world but am up bright and early this morning and, in what is rare for me, not feeling ready to tackle my week. I decided to peruse for some inspiration and stopped here first - SO glad I did.
    As always, you've got me excited and inspired. I want to go out and buy pumpkins, make some soup and set up a fabulous fall table like you did for your brother Rick.
    Thank you for being the always wonderful and inspiring you :)

  2. I hung on every word... and beautiful image! That soup sounds scrumptious but I was so distracted by your gorgeous cups you served the soup in. WOW~ amazing!
    You are such a talent!
    Please stop by and share your creative beauty at ON THE MENU MONDAY, going on now!

  3. Andrea I am so excited to try a couple of these recipes The souplooks delish!!

    Do you happen to have any of your baskets like the yellow in your header left? Let me know. I am feeling better every day!! Just tire easily.

    I do have a couple of interesting Artist features coming up!

    Art by Karena

  4. The bread looks amazing and I've never had pumpkin soup before.