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Pumpkin Soup with Mexican Cinnamon Creme Fraiche

I know, I know, nobody wants to be thinking about this yet.... and if you are anything like my mother, you will have faith in your culinary skills and can just "wing it" with a new recipe the day of a big event.

But if you're anything like me, you will want to try it out first and make sure you are capable of pulling it off, not to mention quenching your curiosity as to what it will taste like. That is why I decided to share this story with you now, just in case you are apprehensive about making a new recipe on an important day.

A few years ago for Thanksgiving, my mother made a pumpkin soup that called for a chipotle puree. What a challenge that was to find! She could not find a chipotle puree anywhere. Not even knowing who La Vigne was, we were shopping at Jimbo's and stumbled upon this persimmon chipotle puree. Well it worked wonderfully, and who knew that down the road we'd be selling it in our family's shop and I'd be telling you all about it!

Thanksgiving is coming up, and this recipe will be sure to please everyone at the table. It's perfect since the persimmon puree is already a rich pumpkin color, only adding to the beauty of this presentation. Be sure to order a jar of the chipotle puree and try the recipe this year. Everyone at our table was delighted, not to mention impressed.

If you decide to give it a try, let me know how you like it!

Mesa Grill's Pumpkin Soup

Yield: 4 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 stocks celery, coarsely chopped
7 cups vegetable stock, or water
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not flavored pie filling)
1/4 teaspoon ground Mexican cinnamon, plus 1 teaspoon (canella)
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons chipotle puree
3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish: 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Heat the butter in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery and cook until soft. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain the stock into a clean medium saucepan and whisk in the pumpkin puree until smooth. Bring to a simmer and add the 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, spices, honey and chipotle. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Add water, if the soup is too thick.

Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/4 cup of the creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix together the remaining creme fraiche and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon until combined. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and garnish with the cinnamon creme fraiche and a handful of pumpkin seeds.

Good Luck!
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