Friday, December 12, 2008

Pumpkin Bisque --- a seasonal favorite --- served as an appetizer in demitasse cups

During the holidays I like to serve seasonal soups and pumpkin is one of my favorites. If you want to add flair and make it extra special, serve it in demitasse cups as an appetizer. It’s an unusual way to serve it and people are always surprised and pleased. I have an avocado soup that I use in the summer and I always use demitasse cups. If you plan to serve it this way, I recommend that you blend the soup before serving, either carefully in a blender or with a stick blender, which I find is one of the handiest tools in the kitchen.

I have two pumpkin soup recipes that I alternate between, Pumpkin Bisque and Southwestern Pumpkin Soup. To make these vegetarian, use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. You could also substitute sweet potatoes. Both of these are fast and easy and can be made in advance and gently reheated before serving. Be sure to buy pumpkin without the added spices.

Both recipes call for nutmeg. I prefer freshly grated to the pre-grated canned version. A rasp, another of my favorite kitchen tools, is perfect for grating whole nutmeg. They also make zesting a lemon a breeze. They can be found at gourmet shops or kitchen supply stores. Rasps are inexpensive and cost around $15.

Pumpkin Bisque

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
½ cup finely minced yellow onion or the white part of a leek
1 tsp rubbed sage
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin, no spices added
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, not the kind from the green can
½ cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the garlic, onions, sage, thyme, cayenne and nutmeg. Cook on medium heat until onions are translucent. Add the pumpkin puree and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and stir well. Add heavy cream, heat and serve. Serves 4.

Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin, no spices added
3 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional garnishes: Cheddar cheese and cilantro

Bring chicken stock and cream to a boil in a heavy medium-sized saucepan. Whisk in canned pumpkin, brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, coriander, and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until soup thickens slightly and flavors blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with grated Cheddar cheese and finely chopped fresh cilantro if desired. Serves 4.


  1. Hi Sam, I will try the Pumpkin Bisque.
    It reads - delicious.

  2. Nancy, I'm pleased you are going to try the bisque. You left a comment one time about a vegetarian son. We have a very good vegetarian friend and she mentioned the other day how much she loves this soup and makes it all of the time using vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.

    This post was inspired by your son and our friend Patti in Abaco.


  3. Sam, This is a good idea for me. Jeremy is almost 100% vegetarian now. I have copied the recipe.

    Merry Christmas to you and Meakin.


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