KELLEY SAYS: Cooking is about experimenting and learning for me, and this dish was definitely something new.
BARRY SAYS: I learned that my wife has never carved a pumpkin before.
KELLEY: True. I always left that to other people. Like you. Anyway, I saved this recipe from Relish magazine, and it just seemed like the right time to try it. I had to go to several places before I found a pumpkin for cooking. Lots of places only have the jack-o'-lantern variety.
BARRY: See, more education going on here. I learned that there is a difference.
KELLEY: It's essentially French onion soup cooked and served inside the pumpkin.
BARRY: It was pretty and unusual and kind of fun to make.
KELLEY: The original recipe called for leeks, but I used onion instead, and I used nutmeg. It was a very earthy-tasting dish, especially with the addition of the porcini mushrooms.
BARRY: Yes, it was.
KELLEY: This is a recipe I think you could experiment with to make it your own.
Contact Barry and Kelley Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.
French Pumpkin Soup
1 8- to 10-pound Cinderella pumpkin
1/4 ciabatta loaf, cubed and toasted
1 yellow onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
3 parsnips, chopped
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 1 ounce bag dried porcini mushrooms
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh sage
2 bay leaves
2 cups Gruyere cheese
4 cups veggie broth
1 cup mushroom broth
1/2 stick butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cube the bread, and place in the oven to brown. Cut the pumpkin, creating a 4-inch lid. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Coat lid and inside of pumpkin with butter. Season both with salt, and place on a deep baking dish or pan.
Melt remaining butter in a skillet, and saute onions until soft. Add sage, nutmeg, rosemary, parsnips, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Put a layer of bread inside the pumpkin and then a layer of cheese. Add onion mixture, and then repeat. Mix 1 cup of mushroom broth with 4 cups veggie broth, and stir. Pour over mixture in the pumpkin. Put lid on, and place in the oven for about 90 minutes. Let cool.
Use a long-handled spoon to dig out some of the pumpkin and soup mixture, and serve in a big bowl or tureen. Be sure to get some of the broth.