Freshly roasted pumpkin is the base for a wonderfully creamy and earthy-sweet vegetarian soup, with sweet potatoes to bump up that flavor and miso for an extra depth, plus a salty-sweet toasted walnut and black sesame seed brittle that adds the perfect crunchy contrast to the velvety soup. If you don’t have a cocotte, pumpkin-shaped or otherwise, you can make this recipe in your usual stock pot or Dutch oven.
Note: The recipe calls for white or yellow miso since they’re milder in flavor; red miso may be too strong and salty for this dish, but if it’s all you can find, add a bit less than called for and taste before adding more. If you can’t find a sugar pumpkin, try another naturally sweet squash variety (like red kuri or butternut).
- Yields: 6 to 8 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 30 min
- Active: 30 min
For the brittle:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
- flaky sea salt
For the soup:
- 3 1/2 pounds pumpkin, such as sugar pie pumpkin, cut in half and seeded (see Note)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- crème fraîche (optional)
To make the brittle:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water in a petite French oven. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking until the liquid turns amber in color, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the butter and stir well. Fold in the walnuts and sesame seeds. Carefully pour the brittle onto the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and let cool for 1 hour. Carefully chop the brittle into small bite-size pieces.
To make the soup:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Brush the pumpkin with 2 tablespoons of the oil and lay it flesh-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until softened. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron cocotte over medium heat. Add the onion and sweet potatoes and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are softened. Add the garlic, a large pinch each of salt and pepper, and the nutmeg and cook for another 30 seconds. Scoop in chunks of the cooked pumpkin and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the miso and stock and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for 5 minutes.
- Working in batches, blend the soup until smooth and return to the cocotte. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately, with a dollop of crème fraîche, and a sprinkle of brittle.
Reprinted with permission from The Staub Cookbook, copyright © 2018. Photography by Colin Price. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.