Pumpkin & Cider Bisque

There’s a lot of flavor a pumpkin’s pesky, stringy membrane can deliver to soups and bisque. It’s one extra step that pays off in a tasty way.

Serves 8

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 small pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into large chunks (reserve the strings and seeds)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cups apple cider, chicken or vegetable stock, or a combination
  • 2 apples, peeled, seeded, and cut into large chunks
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon, more or less to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup heavy cream, optional
  • Candied pumpkin seeds, for garnish (see separate recipe)

Melt the butter in a large stockpot. Add the shallots and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved strings and seeds from the pumpkin and sauté an additional 3 minutes.

Add the thyme and cider. Insert a steamer basket and add the chunks of pumpkin, apples, and potatoes. Cover tightly and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and steam for 30 minutes or until the fruits and potatoes are very soft.

Remove the contents of the steamer and arrange on a baking sheet to cool. Meanwhile, strain the liquid into another container, discarding the solids (you should have approximately 3 cups of highly flavored liquid).

Working in batches, purée the fruits and potatoes in a blender until smooth. Return to the stockpot and gently warm over medium heat, stirring in the reserved liquid until the desired consistency is achieved.

Add the cinnamon, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in 1⁄2 cup of the cream, if including. Heat until hot, but do not boil. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Ladle into warmed bowls and garnish with Candied Pumpkin Seeds or a drizzle of heavy cream.