In November of 1994, I was an exchange student in the south of France living with a beautiful family of 5 for about 10 days. The mother made us many wonderful meals, including, of course, escargot. I remember her children telling me how when it rained, their mother would send them outside to collect the snails... I also remember her sending me off to our field trips with bagged lunches of supremely delicious bread covered in such tasty cheese... ahhh... :) And the yogurt that they ate for dessert following dinner... well, there's nothing like it here. Anyhow, all that was just a tangent and an excuse to reminisce!!! :-D
What this post is *really* about is that I still have vivid memories of the night she made pumpkin soup for us. It was a cold, damp night, and we were returning from a judo lesson, and we were nourished by this warm, flavorful soup, bread and a salad. It was perfect.
I have no idea how she made her soup, or accomplished the deep flavors that were in it, but I am trying my best here to come close.
I started like this:
I chopped the onion and garlic, and sauteed them in a little bit of olive oil in a large pan. Then I chopped the pumpkin up and added it to the pan, all of it, because I wanted it to be richly "pumpkin". That's what I remember. I put in about 6 cups of my homemade vegetable stock, and cooked the pumpkin until it was soft. Then I pureed it with my immersion blender until it was nice and smooth. I poured in just a bit of whole milk for creaminess, but not too much, because I didn't want to kill the pumpkin flavor. Then I seasoned the soup to taste with salt and pepper, nutmeg, and a little bit of what Thomas Keller calls "squab spice", a mix of cinnamon, coriander, cloves, pepper, and ginger, because I had some in my pantry and it seemed like a good idea :)
I ended up with this:
I'm sure it's not the same. But it's good!