We’re hosting a baby shower this weekend for our good friends and the theme is — you guessed it — Little Pumpkins. The mother-to-be loves Halloween, so the timing couldn’t be better. I’m serving some of the usual suspects: pumpkin bars, pumpkin beer, candy corn. But I was struggling with a main dish. Then I saw a picture of a beautiful roasted pumpkin filled with soup in the October issue of Bon Appetit.
As a centerpiece and a main dish, it’s the perfect option for us, and actually seems relatively easy. I’m switching it up a little by substituting an expensive spice for a cheap one, and eliminating fennel seeds, which I don’t always care for. Really, I think it would be hard to go wrong with gruyere and breadcrumbs. I also think this would be cool way to use all the post-Halloween leftover pumpkins (if the squirrels haven’t gotten to them)…
Pumpkin Soup with Gruyere, adapted from Bon Apetit
1 6–8 pound Cinderella, cheese, or Jarrahdale pumpkin
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large pinches paprika Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (packed) grated Gruyère
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from white bread
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
5–7 cups low-salt chicken stock Flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 350°. Cut out a wide circle around stem of pumpkin to make a lid. Lift lid; scrape off any seeds and set aside. Scoop out seeds and strings from inside pumpkin. Place pumpkin in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Rub pumpkin flesh with butter. Sprinkle all over inside with paprika . Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic, and bay leaves. Pour in stock to come within 3″ of the pumpkin’s rim. Cover with lid.
Roast pumpkin for 1 hour. Remove lid; put lid flesh side up on pan alongside pumpkin and return to oven. Continue to roast until pumpkin flesh is soft when pierced with a knife (take care not to puncture skin), 30-90 minutes more, depending on size of pumpkin. Discard bay leaves. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, gently scoop a big spoonful of flesh from sides or bottom of pumpkin into each bowl and ladle stock over. Garnish with parsley.