HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN SOUP
Halloween always brings an opportunity to have some fun and our soup is sure to delight revellers. The WineWeaver team loves the idea of bright orange colours against the black of night so we have chosen a favourite for Halloween – a rich pumpkin soup.
You can either use the pumpkin scooped out or perhaps opt for a butternut squash to give it a more luxurious buttery taste.
We have two ideas for the drinks too. Our blood-eyed punch with lychees or how about a chilled (to-the-bone) Spanish white wine by Belondrade y Lurton with a fabulous orange themed label (look out for our Halloween Wine tasting notes next week!).
No surprises for regular readers to hear that we love table design so naturally we would be putting on a black table cloth to contrast our orange theme to the full! Add some fun with witches napkins or simple plain orange ones.
RECIPE FOR SOUP SERVED IN A PUMPKIN:
- 2 cup chopped onion
- 4 oz/113 gms butter
- A 5-6 lb/2kg (ish) whole pumpkin
- 1 cup Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
- ½ cup (or so) dry white wine
- 1 ½ qt/1.4 ltr chicken stock/or vegetable stock
- ½ tsp dried sage, or 2 tsp fresh chopped sage
- 1 cup double cream
- 2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- Handful of chopped parsley or fresh sage to decorate
- Whilst the oven heats up to 180C/360F, slice off the top of the pumpkin. Mark out a hole and scrape out the insides. If the pumpkin is not too stringy place to one side half of the contents for the soup. Top Tip: Take care not to puncture the sides or the soup is sure to run out!
- Place the roughly chopped onion in a pan and cook in butter over a medium heat. Top Tip: roughly to save time and call it rustic Spanish style to suit the wine and add a dash of olive oil to stop the butter burning.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C then spread out the breadcrumbs onto a baking tray. Place the crumbs into the oven for about 10mins to lightly toast. Top Tip: If time is short, cheat a little- it is Halloween after all- and buy some ready-made breadcrumbs. Serve the Halloween punch on arrival and they will never even notice!
- Return to cooking the onions whilst the breadcrumbs bake, when the onions are tender, but not browned, stir in the breadcrumbs and some of the sage before cooking for a further 3 minutes. Top Tip: use your egg timer if you might forget the breadcrumbs and burn them.
- In a separate pan add some of the chicken stock and cook half of the pumpkin contents or a whole (peeled and chopped) butternut squash (now called the soup). Once the mixture is soft, add the cold white wine or ice cubes to cool it rapidly before liquidizing it the mixture. Tip: don’t liquidize hot liquids as the steam can cause the lid to pop off.
- Put the liquidized mixture back in the pan and add chicken stock till the soup is a consistency that you like. Bring to the boil before turning off the heat.
- Time to turn up the oven temperature to 200C/390F in preparation for receiving the pumpkin urn.
- Take the butter paper and liberally rub the inner walls of the pumpkin with butter.
- Place the pumpkin onto a firm baking tray suitable for the dining table. Pour about half of the chicken pumpkin soup carefully into the pumpkin urn and add the cooked breadcrumb mixture, add the rest of the soup until it is 2 inches or 5cm from the top.
Baked Pumpkin Preparation:
Place the filled pumpkin onto a baking dish and bake for a further 1 -1½ hours, until the pumpkin has softened. Remember you are not eating the outer part so it doesn’t have to be too soft or it might leak. Top Tip: Check occasionally and if it is drying out, add more chicken stock or white wine.
- Remove from the oven and allow the baking tray to cool a little before serving as you will need something to carry the pumpkin on to the table.
- Finally, before serving, remove the lid and gently stir in the double cream and add a handful of chopped or whole parsley before putting the lid back on top.
- Add some decorations around the base of the pumpkin before serving –e.g. nachos, crackers or buttered rolls.
Recommended Tipple to pair:
A Spanish White Wine: Verdejo, Belondrade y Lurton. Read more about this wine recommendation next week.