Also known as pepitas, pumpkin seeds are nutritious. A good source of fiber, even the shells are edible.

Also known as pepitas, pumpkin seeds are nutritious. A good source of fiber, even the shells are edible.

The Kitchen Ade: Perfect season for pumpkins

  • By Sue Ade
  • Tuesday, November 3, 2015 5:53pm
  • LifeFood

I’m a year-round fan of the color orange, but never more so then now, when vividly-colored pumpkins are in season.

In the weeks before Halloween, huge pumpkins for carving and decorating, abound everywhere. However, as soon as Halloween passes, the only pumpkins you’ll find are small sugar pumpkins, usually in limited quantities, in the produce department of the supermarket. These are the pumpkins you want for making pie and other desserts, breads and many savory dishes — including soup.

The two soup recipes here call for canned puréed pumpkin. This means canned 100 percent plain pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.

The first recipe comes straight off the back of the bag from Harry & David’s “Pumpkin Bisque” Soup Mix. Made with spinach, garlic, basil, oregano and the liveliness of red pepper, you add pumpkin, water (or chicken stock), half-and-half and butter to make this creamy, satisfying soup your own.

Cookbook author/restaurant owner Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr.’s cream sherry-laced “Pumpkin Soup En Cappuccino” comes next. Topped with frothed milk, sour cream or cream, Chef Mirabile’s delectable soup may be served warm or “chilled in espresso cups as an aperitif.”

Due to the heavy June rains in Illinois, where 90 percent of the country’s pumpkins are grown, and where Libby’s has a canning plant, I’ve read reports that once the “remainder of the 2015 harvest” is shipped, there will be no more Libby’s pumpkin to sell until next year’s harvest. While a spokesperson for Libby’s has expressed confidence that supplies will be available for the fall holidays and I’ve not yet encountered any problems locating Libby’s pumpkin in the stores where I shop, it might be wise to get what you need early in the season.

Alternatively, Oregon-based Farmer’s Market Foods, offers an excellent organic canned pumpkin product and is not experiencing a similar shortage, noting on their website: “A pumpkin shortage in the Midwest is not impacting the largest supplier of organic pumpkin.”

For assistance in locating where Farmer’s Market organic pumpkin may be purchased, visit www. farmersmarketfoods.com.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food columnist with broad experience and interests in the culinary arts. She has resided and worked in the lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Harry & David’s Pumpkin Bisque

Servings: About 6 (1 cup) servings

1 (4.3-ounce) package Harry & David Pumpkin Bisque Soup Mix

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

2 cups water*

2 cups half-and-half

¼ cup (½ stick) butter

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well to blend. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

*Kitchen Ade notes: If desired, substitute chicken stock for water. Also, if soup is too thick, thin with additional half-and-half or milk. (Recipe courtesy Harry & David. For purchase information or locations for a store near you, visit www.harryanddavid.com.) For added interest and texture, top Pumpkin Bisque with a few roasted pumpkin seeds before serving. If you have a fresh pumpkin, make your own. (See directions following recipes for soups.)

Pumpkin Soup en Cappuccino

Servings: 5 to 6

½ cup olive oil

1 medium white onion, chopped

4 cups canned pumpkin

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Cream sherry

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil*

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Frothed milk, sour cream or heavy cream, for serving

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin and brown sugar and stir continuously for 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and process until smooth then return the mixture to the saucepan. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Drizzle with a touch of sherry.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and basil. The soup can be stored, covered and refrigerated, or up to 2 days.

To serve, season the warm or chilled soup with salt and pepper and top with frothed milk, sour cream or heavy cream. (Recipe courtesy: “Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook: Italian Recipes and Memories from Kansas City’s Legendary Restaurant,” by Jasper J. Mirabile, Jr.; published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC. Find the book at booksellers selling cookbooks or via on-line sources such as www.amazon.com.)

*Kitchen Ade Note: Fresh basil leaves makes a nice garnish for this soup.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Salt or other seasonings, like chili powder, garlic powder or cayenne pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 300 F. Scoop seeds and pulp from pumpkin, cleaning off as much of the pulp from the seeds as possible. Rinse, drain and pat seeds dry with paper towels. Toss seeds in a bowl with vegetable oil and seasonings. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Seeds not eaten within 2 days should be refrigerated in an airtight container.

Product Information: Le Creuset Stockpots

Quality, function and durability are just a few of the reasons to invest in Le Creuset cookware.

For a store locator, visit: www.lecreuset.com.

“Designed to function efficiently on a full range of heat sources, enamel on steel stockpots are not only resistant to wear and damage, but also versatile enough for any type of stovetop, old or new. Their high-profile design limits evaporation while forcing liquids to bubble through all layers of ingredients, infusing the entire dish with flavor during cooking.

Le Creuset enamel on steel stockpots are finished in the same bold palette of signature colors as Le Creuset enameled cast iron, making them perfectly stylish complements to any combination of cookware. Among its features are:

— Convenient quick heating and superior heat distribution

— Tight-fitting lid locks in moisture

— A stainless steel rim around the top edge prevents chipping and cracking

— Constructed from heavy-gauge carbon steel with a durable and colorful porcelain enamel Finish

— Easy-to-clean interior resists flavor absorption and staining

— Heat-resistant phenolic knobs stay cool to the touch for safe, secure handling

— Triple-welded side handles for a secure, confident hold when lifting”

— Source: Le Creuset: www.lecreuset.com

: It may start with a bag, but Harry & David's quick-cooking "Pumpkin Bisque" has the rich flavor and creamy texture of homemade.  Pumpin Bisque is a "Limited Edition" item, so stop by your local Harry & David store, or order it soon at www.harryanddavid.com.

: It may start with a bag, but Harry & David’s quick-cooking “Pumpkin Bisque” has the rich flavor and creamy texture of homemade. Pumpin Bisque is a “Limited Edition” item, so stop by your local Harry & David store, or order it soon at www.harryanddavid.com.

Jasper J. Mirabile Jr.'s "Pumpkin Soup En Cappuccino" is particularly suited for holiday meals. Mirabile suggests serving soup warm or "chilled in espresso cups as an aperitif."

Jasper J. Mirabile Jr.’s “Pumpkin Soup En Cappuccino” is particularly suited for holiday meals. Mirabile suggests serving soup warm or “chilled in espresso cups as an aperitif.”

Pictured in the color "flame" and available in sizes from six to 20 quarts, you'll reach often for Le Creuset's enamel on steel stockpot throughout the soup-making season -  and beyond. Suitable for any heat source (gas, electric, induction or ceramic), use it for making soups such as Harry & David's Pumpkin Bisque (lower left) and Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr.'s "Pumpkin Soup En Cappuccino" (lower right).

Pictured in the color “flame” and available in sizes from six to 20 quarts, you’ll reach often for Le Creuset’s enamel on steel stockpot throughout the soup-making season – and beyond. Suitable for any heat source (gas, electric, induction or ceramic), use it for making soups such as Harry & David’s Pumpkin Bisque (lower left) and Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr.’s “Pumpkin Soup En Cappuccino” (lower right).

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