We have been receiving an abundance of stunning winter squash in our C.S.A. shares, which recently included this giant Rouge Vif d’Etampes pumpkin (also called a Cinderella pumpkin, as they are shaped like the carriage from the story).
I should have placed something next to this to give you a sense of the scale–this was a large, heavy pumpkin. Isn’t the color gorgeous? No photoshopping going on there, they are that lovely, deep ruddy orange. Here are two of the quarters, pre-roasting:
So very beautiful! When I cook any kind of winter squash I also roast the seeds. To do this, just pick the seeds out of the pumpkin guts (that’s the fun and/or gross part), rinse them well and strain off the water, toss with your favorite spices and some salt, and spread them out on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees until they are dry and starting to brown a bit. Let them cool fully on the baking sheet before storing, or they will rehydrate and soften as they store.
I like Penzey’s 4S Seasoned Salt, which is what I used for this batch. For the soup I used some pre-roasted and peeled chestnuts to add rich texture and nutty flavor to the pumpkin. Last year I tried roasting my own chestnuts for this post and vowed to avoid it in the future. If you want to roast your own, I commend you. For the topping I went with crispy leeks using this method. Here is the recipe:
Chestnut and Pumpkin Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
10 ounces cooked, peeled chestnuts (about two cups)
4 cups cooked pumpkin or winter squash
One quart vegetable stock, plus additional as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
In a soup pot or five-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 15 minutes. Use a blender to puree the soup until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed, and add additional stock if the soup is too thick. Serve hot, topped with crispy leeks, if desired.
Simple, rich, delicious. A great holiday soup.
Thanks for reading,