Try one of these soup recipes from restaurants in St. Louis
Yield: 8 servings
For the soup
2 small Spookie pumpkins (see note)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup diced yellow onion
½ cup diced leeks
¼ cup diced celery
1 clove of minced garlic
1 bouquet garni (fresh thyme, fresh or dried bay leaf, and a peppercorn secured in cheesecloth)
¼ cup of white wine
4 cups of water
1 cup whipped cream
Brown sugar to taste
For granola with pumpkin seeds
5 tablespoons of honey, warmed
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups of raw pumpkin seeds
For salted grapes
12 red grapes
Per serving, for garnish
1 tablespoon of salted grapes
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seed granola
1 teaspoon of pumpkin seed oil
Comments: Heirloom Spookie pumpkins have a sweet, deeply colored flesh with a fine texture and are especially revered for pie. Substitute two small sugar squashes (about 4-½ pounds combined) to get more roasted squash than you need for soup, a good excuse to make pie. To soften the pumpkins a bit before cutting them in half, microwave them for 1 to 2 minutes.
• Brasserie pumpkin seed granola is an unusually addictive concoction. As written, the granola recipe makes 5 cups, about 4 cups more than needed to garnish the soup. Divide the recipe by 4 to avoid granola leftovers.
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees one day before serving. Halve pumpkins, hollow out and remove seeds. Drizzle the cut sides with olive oil, salt and pepper, place cut side up on a baking tray and place a sprig of thyme on each half. Roast until tender, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, discard the thyme and scoop out the pulp. Measure out 4 cups of roasted meat for the soup, use the rest for another purpose.
2. Meanwhile, add a coat of olive oil to a large, heavy saucepan and heat until shimmering. Stir in onion, leek, celery, and garlic; sprinkle with a little salt and cook until translucent. Add wine to deglaze the pan (it should sizzle), cook for a minute or 2 to bring most of the alcohol to the boil.
3. Stir in the roasted pumpkin, water, bouquet garni and a little salt and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the whipped cream and bring almost to a boil. Taste and then add brown sugar and salt to taste.
4. Let soup cool. Remove bouquet garni. Puree the soup in a high-powered blender and pass through a fine-mesh sieve for extra smoothness.
5. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
6. Making granola. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Combine honey, brown sugar and butter in a large bowl. Stir in the oats and pumpkin seeds, turning to really coat every surface. Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Let the mixture cool without falling apart. Transfer to a tightly covered container.
7. Make salted grapes. About an hour before serving the soup, thinly slice the grapes lengthwise and mix with a little salt.
8. To serve, heat the soup almost to a boil, taste and season. To serve Brasserie style, pour hot soup into white French croques. Arrange salted grapes in a line across the center, top with pumpkin seed granola and drizzle with pumpkin seed oil.
Per portion: 313 calories; 17g fat; 9g saturated fat; 37mg of cholesterol; 7g protein; 36g carbohydrates; 7 g of sugar; 1g fiber; 599mg sodium; 40mg calcium.
Recipe adapted for home kitchens by the Post-Dispatch.