Fairytale Pumpkin Soup with Shiitake “Bacon”

9 Nov

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Tis the season for pumpkin soup! My friend Lizzette gave me a ~*fairytale pumpkin*~ (look it up) the other week and it was almost too beautiful to eat. But, because I don’t like to waste food, I hacked the pretty pumpkin into quarters and scooped out the seeds, cleaned and roasted the seeds and baked the pumpkin quarters with olive oil until super soft. Tip: whenever you make a winter squash or pumpkin soup, the flavor is so much better if you have time to roast the squash/pumpkin instead of boil it.

This fairytale pumpkin was absolutely gorgeous outside and inside. The inside flesh was a kind of vibrant orange that almost looked fake. Stunning.

A lot of pumpkin soups call for a base of celery, carrot or potato and others call for a glug of cream. I opted for a simple roasted pumpkin soup (mostly out of laziness of going to the store to purchase said celery/carrot/potato), with the staple onion and garlic and a few spices to kick off the fall season. No swirl of cream.

To top the soup, a few crunchy and savory roasted shiitake mushrooms, or as some like to say, shiitake “bacon.” Ooo roasty shiitakes are so dang good you NEED to make them. I first had shiitake bacon at by Chloe. in the West Village on top of the mac n’ cheese and stirred into the kale Caesar. Shiitake bacon is clearly great with everything. Sorry regular bacon.

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Fairytale Pumpkin Soup

makes just over 1 quart of soup; serves 4 to 6

recipe adapted from Cookie + Kate

1 4-pound fairytale pumpkin or winter squash

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4 large or 6 medium garlic cloves, pressed or minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups vegetable stock  or water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Carefully slice the pumpkin into quarters, scoop out the pulp and seeds. (To clean the seeds: rinse under running water and separate from any remaining pulp. Sprinkle with salt and a tiny drizzle of olive oil and heat on a pan or in the toaster or oven for 5 to 15 minutes or until toasted and crunchy.)

Rub the pumpkin flesh with 1 tablespoon olive oil, place on a baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes, flipping the quarters halfway through, until the flesh is soft and can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool for 2 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until just translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the salt, spices and black pepper and cook for another 1 minute more.

Once the pumpkin is completely cooked, peel off the skin and add to the soup pot. Add the vegetable broth or water and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir, then reduce heat and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the soup cool for 2 to 5 minutes.

Using a stick or immersion blender, puree the soup to desired thickness. Or, in batches, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with toasted pumpkin seeds and shiitake “bacon” (recipe below).

 

Shiitake “Bacon”

serves 2-3

recipe adapted from Chloe Coscarelli

7-10 medium shiitake mushrooms, stems removed

1 tsp. olive oil

sprinkle of salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the shiitake mushroom caps thin and toss with olive oil and salt. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for about 15 to 25 minutes, or until the mushrooms have shrunk and are golden brown and crispy (but not too crispy).

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