If it wasn’t evident that we have been in a fall-ish mood before now, then it should be screaming at you loud and clear with this dish. For a perfect meal on a chilly fall day we’re eating a soup made with roasted pumpkin, parsnips, carrots, and potatoes and seasoned with garlic, ginger, sage, rosemary, cinnamon, and cloves. The soup was topped with a dollop of cream fraiche and a mixture of pepita seeds, pomegranate, feta, and crispy bacon. For an extra kick we chose to serve the soup in a roasted pumpkin bowl.
T: this was some really tasty soup. especially with the crumbled feta and pomegranates on top.
A: not to mention the bacon in that mix! the relish, for lack of a better word, really did set the soup off. mmm mmm.
T: yeah, I certainly meant no disrespect to Bacon! Mmm. Also, it was surprisingly easy and tasty to eat the meat of the pumpkin while spooning soup! This was a really fun meal.
A: again with the unique vessels to make the meal more fun. it’s gonna suck when we go back to eating with normal dishes and utensils.
T: well i don’t know if I would say it’s going to suck. Although there will be more dishes to clean.
A: heheh which will suck in and of itself.
T: true. Alright, so this was a really good soup. what do you rate it?
A: i think i’m going to have to give it a 4.23/5. it really was good. it wasn’t something that i would want to eat once a week or anything, but when fall falls like it’s fallen lately, this is the perfect dish.
T: i don’t know, if pumpkins were around all the time I would be happy to eat this once a week. I give this soup a 4.73/5. I would have given it a lower score if it were not for the feta/bacon/pomegranate mixture, but fortunately that little mixture topped it off perfectly. Also, the pumpkin itself was really tender and delish. I don’t have anything negative to say about this one.
A: hell yeah! then i’ve succeeded. i don’t really have anything negative to say either. you pretty much hit it right on the head. the brightness of the pomegranate with the smokiness of the bacon and saltiness of the feta just brought out great flavors in the soup and pumpkin itself. mmm mmm…. maybe i should rethink my rating!…. or just eat more soup.
T: I think the feta brought the whole dish up to the perfect level of saltiness. Without it it might have needed a touch more. It worked out well. BTW, you’re not allowed to change your rating.
A: so you’re the rating police now, huh?
T: we wouldn’t need rating police if there weren’t people talking about changing their rating, ok?
T: also, it’s Ratings Enforcement Agent, thank you very much.
For the Pumpkin Bowls:
4-5* whole sugar or pie pumpkins, top cut off and seeds scraped out
2-3 tbsp canola oil
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
*Soup will fill about 4 small pumpkins. Use the meat from 1 roasted pumpkin for the soup portion of the recipe
For the Soup:
1 lg. parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lg. russet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp canola oil
drippings from 2 slices thick cut bacon (bacon reserved for topping)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
*meat from 1 small roasted pie pumpkin (about 2 cups)(roast with serving bowls)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 cups chicken stock
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Herb Bundle: (place all ingredients in cheese cloth then tie into a pouch)
1 sprig rosemary
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 inch piece of ginger, sliced
3 sage leaves
3 mint stalks
seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 slices thick-cut bacon, (reserved from soup) crumbled or sliced
1/8 cup roasted and salted pepita seeds
2 green onions, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle both the insides and outsides of the clean out pie pumpkins with canola oil. Using your hands, rub to coat evenly. Sprinkle kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper evenly over all areas of the pumpkins. Place pumpkins onto a sheet pan then replace the lids on top of the hollowed out pumpkins. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until pumpkin is tender. Once cooked, remove from oven and set aside. When cool enough to handle scrap the meat out of 1 pumpkin and reserve for soup.
While the pumpkins are roast make the topping. Mix together the first 5 topping ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Refrigerate mix until ready to serve.
Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Place 1 inch pieces of parsnips, carrots, and potato onto a sheet pan and toss wwith canola oil, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Toss to coat. Once the oven has fully preheated, place sheet pan with veggies into the oven. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking. Once tender and caramelized, remove from oven and set aside (still on the sheet pan). Leave oven on for future use.
Begin making the soup. Preheat a large pot over medium heat. Place bacon into preheated pot. Fry the bacon until crispy, then remove from pan, and drain on paper towels. Reserve till needed.
To the bacon drippings add diced carrots, onion, and celery. Sweat veggies over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and carrots are soft. Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar, making sure to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice to the pot. Stir to dissolve sugar.
Add the chicken stock, pumpkin meat, and herb bundle. Stir. Bring the soup to a simmer then turn heat to medium-low. Simmer for twenty minutes or until the roasted veggies are done.
Once the roasted veggies are done, add half of them to the simmering soup and reserve the other half.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. If the soup is too thick you can adjust the consistency by adding more water or broth as necessary.
Place the sheet pan with the reserved whole roasted pumpkins back into the oven to reheat while soup finishes, for about 10-15 minutes.
To the pureed soup, add the rest of the roasted veggies. Stir. Bring back to a simmer over medium heat. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings as necessar with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Once the pumpkin bowls have reheated and the soup is simmering, serve the soup in the pumpkin bowls. Garnish the soup with a dollop of creme fraiche and a hearty dose of the pomegranate mixture. Place the lid slight ajar on top of the pumpkin. Serve and enjoy!