The Food Matters Project challenge for this week was Mark Bittman's Roasted Butternut Squash Chowder with Apples and Bacon, chosen by Jen of Prarie Summers. Click here to see what everyone else made; look in the comments section.
I really wanted to call this a pumpkin 'bisque'; that sounds more sexy than pumpkin 'soup'. But then I did some reading and realized that you can't categorize something as a bisque unless it has fish stock as its base. So...this is fenneled pumpkin soup made with pumpkin puree from the bounty of pumpkins I had gotten for a pumpkin-themed baby shower last month. I roasted and pureed all of the leftovers, stocking my freezer for things such as this.
The bacon adds a delicious smokiness and the persimmons impart an exotic sweetness. I served this as the first course for our Thanksgiving lunch. It was a hit!
1 C diced bacon
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
1 T minced garlic
6 C pumpkin puree
10 C organic chicken stock
1/2 C orange juice
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 t smoked paprika
1 t fennel seeds
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
persimmons, peeled and julienned for garnish
In a souppot, cook the bacon pieces until they begin to brown but are not crispy. Add the fennel and garlic and cook until the fennel begins to caramelize. Add the pumpkin, chicken stock, fennel seeds and orange juice. Simmer until the soup begins to thicken. Stir in lemon juice, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with julienned persimmons.