Quesnel Farmer's Market, Quesnel BC

Recipes

Pumpkin Soup with Red Pepper Mousse

Mousse:
1                  Jar (12-oz) roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1 tbsp          Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp            Sherry vinegar
1/4 tsp         Hot smoked paprika
1/4 tsp         Salt
1/2 tsp         Unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope)
2 tbsp          Water
1/3 cup        Chilled heavy cream

Purée peppers, oil, vinegar, paprika, and salt in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a 1-quart heavy saucepan and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Heat mixture over low heat, stirring, just until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in pepper purée 1 tablespoon at a time.
Beat cream in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds soft peaks. Fold in pepper mix gently but thoroughly, then cover surface of mousse with plastic wrap and chill until set, at least 2 hrs.

Soup:
5                    Carrots, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1                    Large onion, chopped
2                    Garlic cloves, minced
1                    Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
3 tbsp            Extra-virgin olive oil
1                     Pumpkin or butternut squash (4 lbs), seeded, peeled, and cut into 1" pcs (9c.)
1 tsp              Salt
3/4 tsp           Ground cumin
1/4 tsp           Black pepper
5 cups           Reduced-sodium chicken broth (40 fl oz)
3 1/2 cups     Water

While mousse chills, cook carrots, onion, garlic, and bay leaf in oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 6 mins. Add pumpkin, salt, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin begins to soften around edges, about 15 mins. Stir in broth and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender, 35 to 45 mins. Discard bay leaf. Blend soup in batches in clean blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to a bowl. Just before serving, return soup to pot and reheat over low heat. Ladle soup into bowls and top each serving with 1 1/2 tbsp mousse.

Accompaniment: onion-rye flatbreads

Cooks' notes:

  • Soup can be made 3 days ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat as directed above.
  • Mousse can be chilled up to 2 days.

Makes 8 to 10 servings (about 14 cups).

Submitted By: Cathie Allen