I watched Chef Peter Platt, of The Wheatleigh in Lenox, Massachusetts, make this on PBS' "Great Chefs of the East" one day, and it looked fabulous -- I took copious notes. This recipe would probably work well with butternut squash as well, and is perfect for the fall.
Preheat oven to 375F.
- 2 small pumpkins, about 8-10 inches in diameter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 2 slices fresh ginger, half-dollar size, 1/4" thick
- 2 sachets d'epices, each containing:
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 black peppercorns
- (Tie the above ingredients into a small cheesecloth sack)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 onions, thinly sliced
- 4 cups homemade chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 20 Fig quenelles, approximately
Cut the tops from the pumpkins and scoop out all the seeds and stringy bits. Season the cavities with kosher salt and a little of the nutmeg. Place a slice of ginger and a sachet d'epices in each pumpkin.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until translucent and soft. Add the chicken stock, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Fill the pumpkins with the stock and onions. Place on a baking sheet (you may spread 1/2" or so of salt on the baking sheet to ensure the pumpkins don't wobble), and bake for 2 hours, or until the flesh is tender.
Remove the stock from the pumpkins and reserve it a large bowl or pot; discard the ginger and sachets. Scoop the cooked flesh from the pumpkin. Purée the cooked pumpkin, onions and stock together in a food processor or blender (you may have to do this in batches). If the soup is too thick, you may add more stock as necessary.
Return the soup to the saucepan and add the cream, cayenne, salt and remaining nutmeg (you may also add a little more grated ginger if you like). Stir to combine, bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
For the Fig Quenelles:
Place the dried figs in a small saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the figs and let cool. Purée the figs with the rum in a food processor.
- 6 dried figs, stems removed
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks. Fold the puréed figs into the whipped cream. Form the fig mixture into oval-shaped quenelles by shaping them with 2 teaspoons.
To Garnish and Serve:
Divide the soup between four soup bowls. Place 5 quenelles in each bowl of soup in a star pattern. Place a small mound of the julienned prosciutto in the center, and sprinkle with chives.
- 2 thin slices of prosciutto, julienned
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Yield: 4 servings.
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)