Monday, November 03, 2008

Hallowe'en Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Bacon

I first heard of Chef Neven Maguire a few years ago when I visited Ireland with my husband. Neven had a cooking show on television there and I found it quite amusing and he made really good dishes. Then, last year when I visited my in-laws in Minnesota, I noticed Neven Maguire's cookbook at their coffee table. By now, of course, I had to have the cookbook because it is full of classic yet simple Irish and International recipes--and this recipe is one of them. So, long story short, my husband went through so many hurdles to get me Neven Cooks! But I finally have it now and I will cherish it forever. On a sad note, I lost my camera, so these pictures are not very good since I had to take them with my mobile phone.

INGREDIENTS (serves 6)

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 oz. raw, smoked bacon (about 4 strips, I used Hickory Smoked Bacon)
  • 2 lbs. pumpkin flesh, peeled, de-seeded and cubed
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 pints low sodium chicken stock
  • 3 ounces heavy cream
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of ginger
  • Pinch of allspice
  • Pinch of ground coriander
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • A couple of tablespoons of whipped cream, for garnish
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish

In a large, heavy saucepan melt the butter on medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper and sweat for 5 minutes. Add the bacon and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium-high and add the cubed pumpkin. Sweat for 6 to 8 minutes to release flavors. Add tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes. Then pour in the stock and an additional 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus one pinch of nutmeg, ginger, allspice and coriander and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Bring to a bubble then simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until pumpkin is fork tender. Lastly, add the heavy cream and simmer a few more minutes. Blend the soup in batches with your blender (or use a hand blender, if you have one) and keep simmering. Taste soup and season more, if needed.

To serve soup, pour into bowls and place a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle a few toasted pumpkin seeds on top. Serve with warm bread.

1 comment:

LindseyA said...

How come Luisa's pumpkin picture is not part of this post? It seems fitting....