This is clearly the right time of year for pumpkin anything. This is a delicious soup that makes use of the Hokkaido pumpkin, which does not require peeling. This pumpkin is very sweet, and is generally harvested in early fall.
Oddly enough, this pumpkin originated in New England. It was introduced to Japan and was then named after the island of Hokkaido.
This recipe calls for creme fraiche as both a thickener and as a garnish. Some recipes call for the addition of potatoes to thicken the soup. I’m not fond of this method because we really don’t want a “potato” taste here.
To that end, I have included a recipe for creme fraiche at the bottom.
1 Hokkaido pumpkin
1/2-1 cup creme fraiche
1 medium sized Vidalia onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
5 black peppercorns
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (estimate; see Directions)
First, clean the Hokkaido pumpkin well, then cut it in half and clean out the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into small pieces. If you want to peel it you can, but it isn’t necessary. If you do decide to peel it, do not cut too far in. Just remove the top layer.
Heat the butter and olive oil together in a large sauce pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft and the garlic is fragrant.
Add the pumpkin pieces and all of the spices, including the black peppercorns. Mix everything well and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add enough stock to just cover the pumpkin pieces. (Here’s where the use of the stock becomes uncertain. It will depend upon how big your pumpkin is and how thick you want your soup.) Stir everything together, and allow this to cook for about another 15 minutes. Check the pumpkin after 15 minutes. If the skin is soft, it is ready to puree.
Remove from the heat and allow it to cool just a bit before pureéing it in your food processor. Here’s where you add your creme fraiche and, again, it will depend upon how thick you want your soup. Stir in about a half cup to start and move from there.
Prior to serving, add a dollop of the creme fraiche to the top of each bowl.
Cook’s Note: Even though it’s not included in this recipe, there are several other items you can serve on top of the soup, like toasted pepitas (raw, shelled pumpkin seeds), pancetta or bacon,
How to Make Creme Fraiche
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp buttermilk
Combine the heavy cream and buttermilk in a bowl. Cover with a kitchen cloth and allow it to sit in a warm, draft-free place until it thickens. This can take anywhere from 12-16 hours).
Stir and refrigerate until use. This can be refrigerated for up to 10 days.