Pumpkin Soup with Porcini Cream

Pumpkin Soup with Porcini Cream is a smooth pumpkin soup served with chopped fresh sage and porcini mushroom cream.  This soup is a taste of autumn at its finest!

pumpkin soup

Last week at cooking school, I was assigned to make pumpkin soup.  I was thrilled because pumpkin soup has been on my bucket list forever.  I make butternut squash soup regularly, so I’ve got no idea why it took me so long to make pumpkin?  At last, it’s happened, and it will happen often from here on out. 🙂

I used kabocha squash to make my soup at school and loved it, so I used it here as well.  You can also substitute sugar pumpkins or butternut squash.  I realized right away that kabocha squash is a bear to cut.  My instructor told me to place the tip of the knife to the right of the stem in the middle with the blade facing outward, and work your way down through the middle.  Do that again on the other side, and you can crack it open.  Clean out the seeds and strings, and use a knife to peel off the outer peel.  Kabocha squash is worth the effort.  It’s starchier than most squashes, which gives the soup a thicker, heartier texture — like potato soup.

pumpkin soup2

Now you can decide whether you want to carve out and bake mini pumpkins to use as a vessel for your soup.  I loved the autumn appeal!  Plus, once they’re baked, you can scoop out part of the insides and add it to your soup just before pureeing.  Just don’t use the hard, small orange and white pumpkins.  You need a softer flesh that you can actually carve. 🙂

pumpkin soup3

The porcini cream is not pictured here, BUT even if was you wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference appearance-wise except that the cream is more of a tan color.  It is completely worth the extra step to make the cream.  I was skeptical about mushrooms with potato soup, but once I tasted it, the earthiness of the mushroom cream was the perfect marriage with the earthy fresh sage.  I honestly wanted to eat that cream right out of the bowl. 🙂  If you don’t have time for the porcini cream, use creme fraiche or sour cream with toasted pepitas, dried cranberries, or pomegranate.

This soup is one of the most festive dishes you can serve this time of year.  Who wouldn’t want to eat pumpkin soup out of a pumpkin?  It’s so much more fun. 🙂

pumpkin soup4

 

Pumpkin Soup with Porcini Cream
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Pumpkin Soup with Porcini Cream is a smooth pumpkin soup served with chopped fresh sage and porcini mushroom cream. This soup is a taste of autumn at its finest!
Serves: About 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 12 miniature pumpkins (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups diced pumpkin (kabocha or butternut squash may be substituted)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6-10 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • bouquet garni (1 sprig parsley, 1 sprig thyme, 6 peppercorns, and 1 bay leaf wrapped in cheesecloth)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Porcini Cream (optional)
  • ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a paring knife, cut a 2" ring around the stems of the mini pumpkins. Remove the seeds and strings from the tops and the insides of the pumpkins. Season the pumpkins with salt and pepper and replace the tops. Set the pumpkins on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly, and scoop the flesh from each pumpkin, careful to leave ⅓" thick shell. Reserve the flesh.
  2. Heat the olive oil in large stock pot. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and saute over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the wine and diced pumpkin. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add just enough of the chicken or vegetable stock to cover the vegetables, reserving the rest. Add the bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes more, or until the diced pumpkin is very tender.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the porcini cream. Soak the porcini mushrooms in the boiling water until softened, about 20 minutes. Rub the porcini to remove any grit, and discard tough stems. Place in a blender. Add ½ cup of the soaking liquid and puree. Scrape the puree into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Remove the bouquet garni from the soup. Add the reserved pumpkin flesh. Puree the soup in two batches in a blender until smooth. Pour back into the pot, and add the chopped sage. If the soup is too thick, add more stock until you reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer over low heat until ready to serve.
  5. In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream until firm. Fold in the mushroom puree and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Place the mini pumpkins on a small plate, and ladle the soup into the pumpkins. Top with a dollop of porcini cream, and garnish with a sage leaf if desired. Enjoy!
Notes
The baby pumpkins are completely optional! If using, make sure you don't buy the smaller orange and white pumpkins as they're flesh is too hard to carve. Baby sugar pumpkins are multicolored baby pumpkins work the best.

When making a bouquet garni, wrap in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine.

If you opt not to use the porcini cream, simply substitute creme fraiche, sour cream, or even Greek yogurt. Other delicious garnishes are toasted pepitas, dried cranberries, and pomegranate arils.

Recipe adapted from Tante Marie Cooking School, San Francisco, CA.