No holiday is more associated with a single food ingredient than Halloween with pumpkins. And that association is ancient.
For centuries the French called pumpkins “pompons”. In Shakespeare’s day they were called “pumpions.” But it was the New England colonist who finally changed the name to “pumpkins.”
The origin of pumpkin pie is believed to have occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes.
But pumpkins were made for more just dessert. Consider a savory soup – bright and colorful with rich fall flavors… a memorable difference and a new favorite!
Mussel Pumpkin Soup
- 4-5 lb. pumpkin
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 medium Spanish onions, peeled and cut into medium dice
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 lbs. Taylor Mediterranean mussels, washed and beards removed
- 3 cups white wine
- 2 quarts fish Stock
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Wash the pumpkin very well, leaving the stem on.
- Put in a roasting pan to fit snugly.
- Fill the pan with 4 to 5 inches of water and cover with foil.
- Bake for about 1 1/2hours, until the pumpkin is tender.
- Remove the pan from the oven.
- Take off the foil.
- Drain off excess water.
- Let the pumpkin cool to room temperature.
- When cool, cut in half, remove the seeds and strings, and scrape out the pulp to use in the soup.
- Heat the oil over high heat in an 8-quart stockpot.
- Add the onions, garlic, thyme, pepper, and mussels.
- Pour in the wine.
- Cover the pot, and cook the mussels until they just begin to open, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the mussels from the pot, reserving the liquid.
- Let them cool.
- Pull them from their shells, trying not to break them, and set aside in a bowl.
- Puree half of the pumpkin pulp with a small amount of the mussel liquid until smooth.
- Repeat with the remaining pulp.
- Put the pumpkin puree in a 4-to 6-quart pot.
- Whisk in the rest of the mussel liquid, the fish stock, and nutmeg.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- The soup should have a creamy consistency, but should not be overly thick.
- Adjust seasoning, and finish with the lemon juice.
- Stir the mussels into the soup just before serving.