Pumpkin Soup w. Gruyere cheese
For this soup use Sugar pumpkins or Perfection squash - both are sweet and full-flavored without being stringy and watery. Delicata and butternut, though milder, are delicious. The stock is a simple one, using the seeds and scrapings of the pumpkin or squash, a few vegetables, and herbs.
Seeds and scrapings from the pumpkin or squash
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stock, plus some leaves, chopped into small pieces
1 turnip, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
..5 tsp dried sage leaves or 5-6 fresh sage leaves
4 parsley branches
3 thyme branches
..5 tsp salt
8 cups cold water
Cut pumpkin or squash in half and scrape out all the seeds and stringy material with a large metal spoon. Put them in a pot with remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, simmer for 25 minutes, and then strain.
1 pumpkin or squash, weighing about 2.5 pounds, halved and scooped out
3 Tbs butter
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
..5 tsp salt
6-7 cups stock
..5 to 1 cup light cream
3 oz Gruyere cheese, finely grated
Thyme leaves, finely chopped, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 F. Bake the pumpkin halves, skin up, on a lightly oiled baking sheet until the skin is wrinkled and the flesh is soft, about an hour. Remove them from the oven, and when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. Reserve and carmelized juices that may collect in the pan.
Melt butter in a soup pot, add the onion, and cook over medium heat fo about 5 minutes. Add the cooked pumpkin, the juices, if any, the salt, and about 6 cups of the stock. Bring to a boil; then simmer, covered,
for 25 minutes.
Pass the soup through a food mill, which will smooth it out while leaving some texture. Return the soup to the pot and add the cream and more stock, if necessary to thin it.
Taste for salt and seasoning. Add Freshly ground white pepper. Stir in the grated cheese and serve the soup with some thyme leave scattered over it.