I believe everything cookbook author Patricia Wells says about food and the French because she’s living in Paris and charging $5,000 a head for cooking classes, whereas I am not. Plus she won a James Beard award, plus she thinks competitive shows like Iron Chef are a little too too (Agreed. I say “feh” to all the running and clock-beating attempts; it’s FOOD, so take your time), plus she gave up vegetarianism in order to do what she loves.

So when it came time to delve further into this pumpkin madness, I turned to Wells’ “The Paris Cookbook” in hopes of finding a simple, but good soup recipe. And sure enough, she had one, along with an anecdote about how the French have fallen for Halloween in recent years. “Now pumpkins carved with wonderfully expressive faces can be found piled high at my market on rue Poncelet,” she writes. “A vegetable merchant suggested this simple soup to celebrate what has become an international holiday. This combination of a few ingredients looks and tastes as though you have been working for days on the ultimate pumpkin soup.”

She was not lying. Lord have mercy, this soup was all kinds of good.

Here’s how you make it…

Ingredients:

2 lbs. fresh pumpkin cubed (I would imagine about 2 lbs of canned, pureed pumpkin would be fine too)

1 quart chicken stock

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons crème fraiche or heavy cream (I used heavy cream)

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground white pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In stockpot, combine pumpkin, chicken stock and sugar. Bring to boil over high heat, cover and boil for 18 minutes (The pumpkin should cook quickly to avoid any bitterness, Wells writes. And I would add “Agreed, Patricia. We mustn’t tolerate bitterness in this day and age.”).
  2. Process soup in food processor or with immersion blender until it is a smooth texture. (Soup can be prepared ahead of time up to this point. Cool and refrigerate.)
  3. At serving time, return the soup to stockpot and bring to boil again. Skim off any scum that rises to top. Add crème fraiche or heavy cream and bring back to boil. Add sea salt and white pepper to taste (Paige says don’t get too heavy handed with either ingredient as the soup has a wonderfully delicate sweet flavor that you definitely want). Serve immediately in warmed shallow soup bowls.

Variation (per la Wells): You can serve this with very thin slices of blue cow’s milk cheese floating on top. Or you could do what I did and not do that.

At any rate, here it is, a wonderfully simple soup with a velvety texture and subtle sweetness. Enjoy!

pumpkinsoup

More from this series…

Monday: Breaking down the pumpkin and roasting the flesh and seeds.

Tuesday: Pumpkin pie, sweet pie crust.

Today: An out of this world (and easy) pumpkin soup.

Tomorrow: An exploration of whether I’m sick of pumpkin yet; a recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.