Pumpkin soup

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4D

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves 4 to 8

Adapted by the Los Angeles Times from "Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef." Pumpkin seed oil is available at most cooking supply stores and select well-stocked markets.

INGREDIENTS

One 5-pound sugar or pie pumpkin (such as Autumn Gold)

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

1 large carrot, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

5 cloves garlic, smashed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 medium sweet potato (1 pound), quartered and medium-diced

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 small bay leaf

2 quarts chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons pumpkin seed oil (if you can't find it, you can use olive oil)

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the top off the pumpkin and quarter it. Remove the seeds and the guts, and set aside the seeds. Toss the pumpkin quarters in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season each piece with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Place the pieces in a baking dish. Bake the pumpkin until the flesh inside is soft enough to scoop out with a spoon, about 30 minutes. Allow it to come to room temperature, then scoop the flesh from the shell and discard the shell.

While the pumpkin is baking, toss the pumpkin seeds with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and place them in the oven (on a separate rack from the pumpkin). Bake the seeds until they start to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and season with a pinch of salt. Set aside to garnish the final soup.

Set a medium stockpot over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the sage and cook, stirring, until the sage is aromatic, about a minute.

Add the sweet potato to the stockpot with the sautéed vegetables. Add the nutmeg and bay leaf. Pour in the chicken broth and add the pumpkin flesh. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until you can run a knife through the sweet potato, about 15 minutes.

When the potato is softened, discard the bay leaf. Purée the soup using a blender (this may need to be done in batches), and strain into another pot. Taste the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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