Pumpkin Soup with Fig Quenelles ▶
Served in a baked pumpkin shell, this glorious creamy fall soup is filled with the scent of spices. The unusual fig quenelles are flavored with dark rum, adding another flavor note. Chives and julienned Prosciutto are sprinkled on as a final garnish. The soup could, of course, be served already portioned into individual bowls. In fact, if you choose to substitute butternut squash in place of pumpkin, you would sidestep the pumpkin “bowl” all together and serve individual bowls of soup.
- Fig Quenelles
- Figs - 6 dried figs, stems removed
- Myers’s Dark Rum - 1 tablespoon
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup, beaten to firm peaks
- Pumpkin Soup
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Onions - 3, thinly sliced
- Chicken Stock - 1 quart
- Kosher salt - 1 to 2 teaspoons
- Pumpkin - 1 medium (alt. 2 butternut squash)
- Nutmeg - grated, to taste
- Bouquet garni - bay leaf and 1 sprig each parsley and thyme, tied in cheesecloth
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Ginger - 1 teaspoon, powdered
- Cayenne Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
- Whole Chives - 6, snipped or chopped
- Prosciutto - 1 slice, trimmed and julienned
To prepare the quenelles: Cook the figs in water to cover for 30 minutes. Cool, drain, and puree. Add the rum and puree again. Chill in the refrigerator.
To make the soup: Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and add the onions. Cook over medium or medium-low heat until the onions are transparent, but not colored. Stir in the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside over very low heat.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt to absorb moisture. Cut the top off the pumpkin and set aside. Clean the cavity. Season with a little salt and nutmeg. Put the bouquet garni in the cavity. Put the pumpkin on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour. Take out of the oven and remove the bouquet garni. Scoop out the pumpkin meat and add to the chicken stock mixture, reserving the pumpkin shell: it will become the serving bowl.
Puree the chicken stock mixture in a food processor, then stir in the heavy cream, adjusting the consistency to taste with more cream (to thicken) or chicken stock (to thin). Fill the pumpkin shell with the soup and put the top in place. Put it back on the baking sheet, and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
To finish the soup: Take the soup out of the oven in its pumpkin “bowl” and check the thickness again; thicken with cream or thin with a little chicken stock. The soup needs to be thick to hold up the quenelles. Adjust seasoning and stir in the ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, and three scrapings of fresh nutmeg.
To serve: Fold the whipped cream into the figs. Place the pumpkin bowl on a heavy platter or plate. Form six quenelles from the fig mixture by passing the mixture between two small spoons to form ovals and slip them onto the soup in a radial design. Garnish with chopped chives and Prosciutto julienne.