My farm box delivered the most exquisite treasure a few weeks ago, the fairy tale-like Musquee de Provence Pumpkin. It's been sitting on my dining room table and as much as I would love to keep it around for it's voluptuous beauty, this pumpkin (which is technically a part of the squash family) is also quite delicious to eat.
Read on for a favorite recipe!The flesh of the Musquee de Provence is deep orange and sweet. It will work for any recipe asking for your usual culinary squashes like butternut or acorn. If you cannot use the whole thing, cover the cut side with parchment paper, wrap in plastic and refrigerate. It should keep well for several days.
My favorite way to use this squash is in the following soup, perfect for the cooler autumn weather.
Pumpkin Soup with Bacon
makes about 8 cups
1/2 pound of bacon
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 # of squash or pumpkin flesh, seeded, peeled and cubed
5 C of water
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 T fresh thyme leaves
2 thick slices good bread, torn into small, rough pieces.
Fry up the bacon in a soup pot. When it's done, remove the bacon and drain. Pour off one tablespoon of the fat into a medium-sized frying pan, leaving the rest in the pot (unless it seems like too much, in which case you can spoon off some more and save it for another use.) You should have enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
Fry up the onions in the bacon fat until they are translucent. Add the garlic and cook gently for about 2 minutes or until it is fragrant. Add a few pinches of salt and a few turns of the pepper mill. Add the squash and water, bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the squash is very soft, about 20-30 minutes. Puree the soup until very smooth. I recommend using a stick blender. Otherwise do it in batches in the blender, being careful not to splatter the hot soup.
While the soup is simmering, sauté the bread in the bacon fat, crumbling in the reserved bacon until the bread begins to color and crisp. If the mixture seems too dry, add a splash of olive oil. Season with salt, if needed, and pepper.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle on about 2 tablespoons of the bread/bacon mixture in each bowl. Garnish with the thyme leaves.