Eric’s Cream of Jack O’ lantern Soup
I learned this soup when I was working at Dusty’s Cellar in East Lansing, Michigan from chef Eric Villegas. It is perfect for a chilly Autumn day (with or without Oregon rain!).
1 smallish pie pumpkin or hard-shell squash
Heavy cream- about a quart
Salt and pepper
Toasted pumpkin seeds, preferably home processed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pumpkin (or squash) in half using a heavy chef’s knife. Go SLOWLY, this is a really easy way to get cut. Scoop out the seeds and reserve for snacking. Put pumpkin, cut side down, into a baking pan with a ½ inch of water. Bake until easily pierced with a needle, about an hour. Discard the baking liquid. Push pulp through a sieve and measure the yield. Whatever amount of puree you have, bring more or less twice that amount of cream to a boil. Stir in puree, return to the boil. Season with salt (it requires more than you would guess) and a generous amount of pepper. It should be silky and thickish. If it’s too thick, add cream or water. If it’s too thin, continue boiling and stirring to reduce. Garnish with seeds.
Matt Bennett owns (and is the chef) at Albany’s Sybaris Bistro