Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Savory Pumpkin Bisque

I have some extra pumpkins around here that I need to get rid of, and I hate to just throw them in the compost pile when they are still good for eating.  Just to be clear, I'm not talking about the half-rotten, carved pumpkins that are sitting on the front porch.  I'm using ones that grew in our garden but were too small for carving. 

Yesterday, I attempted to make some pumpkin stew but it left MUCH to be desired, so I'm not going to share it here and disappoint your families -- mine was disappointed enough!  Hahaha! 

Today, I started fresh with pumpkin bisque.  I researched recipes and decided how I wanted it flavored.  I steered clear of sweet/spicy flavor combos and went for a more basic savory version.  I've never made bisque before, so this was a 'bisque risk'!  (har, har...)  I have to say, it turned out quite good and the only thing that would make it better is dunking some fresh homemade bread into it.

(I'm sorry if the picture is fuzzy.  This is the best shot I got, which was about 1/8th of a second before my cat jumped up there and shoved the whole thing on the floor.  Grrrrrrrrr......)

Savory Pumpkin Bisque
7-8 cups cubed pumpkin (halve it, core it, peel it, cube it)
6 cups broth
1-2 TBS bacon grease (or butter if that's what you have on hand)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS lemon juice
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup half & half (or cream, or milk, depending on how rich you want it)

1.  Heat bacon grease in a skillet (cast iron works great), add the onions and saute over medium heat until they turn clear and just start to lightly brown.  Add garlic and saute for another couple minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching.  Remove from heat and put onions and garlic into the crockpot.

2.  Place all remaining ingredients, except the half & half, into the crockpot and cook in HIGH for about 4 hours or until the pumpkin is very soft.

3.  In batches, CAREFULLY puree the mixture in a blender.  While blending, place a towel over the top of the blender lid and hold it to prevent the top from popping off and splattering hot goo all over.  (I placed the puree in a separate bowl until the crockpot was completely empty.)

4.  Pour all of the puree back into the crockpot and turn down to WARM or LOW.  Stir in the half & half right before serving.

You could probably do your chopping and cook the onions and garlic ahead of time, store them in the fridge, and then add all the ingredients together (except half & half) the next day to cook.  It would probably work just fine to let it cook on LOW for 8 -10 hours, if you'd rather put this together before going to work.  Then all you'd have to do is puree it a few minutes before you eat!

I hope you try this recipe sometime and share your results.  I was pleasantly surprised, and so was my husband.  Until tonight, he was SURE he didn't like any kind of squash! 

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