provided by Jim Gordon
Janet Trefethen of Trefethen Vineyards is proud of her family property's agricultural heritage, with its orchards of citrus and avenues of sturdy walnut trees and olives. She culls pumpkins from her garden for the annual pumpkin festival, and Trefethen likes to serve this soup in hollowed-out sugar pumpkins. Warm the pumpkins briefly in the oven, and be sure they are very hot before adding the soup. A 29-ounce can of pumpkin, well drained, can be substituted for fresh pumpkin.
Yields 6 servings
1/4 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 pounds diced pumpkin flesh
salt and pepper
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup light white wine
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 cup sour cream for garnish
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup butter
1. Melt half the butter in a large soup pot, add the onion and carrot and sauté until soft but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard any seeds or fiber from the pumpkin and add to the vegetables with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cover and continue cooking, stirring often, until the pumpkin starts to soften, 8 to 10 minutes. (If using canned pumpkin, this step is not necessary.) Add stock and wine, cover and simmer the soup until the pumpkin is very tender, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of pumpkin.
2. When the pumpkin is very tender, purée the soup in a food processor and return it to the pan, or use an immersion blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The soup can be kept covered in the refrigerator for a day.
3. Shortly before serving, make the garnish: Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a frying pan, add the apple, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring, until the apple is tender and transparent, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl and keep warm. Melt the remaining butter in the pan and fry the leeks, stirring, until brown and quite crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. To finish, bring the soup to a boil on top of the stove. Stir in the light cream and dot with the remaining butter. Heat, stirring, until almost boiling. Check the seasoning. Spoon the apple into bowls. Pour the soup on top and add a dollop of sour cream and a pinch of fried leeks