It’s been cold in Paris, and even though spring is right around the corner, it definitely still feels like winter. As a result, I’ve been craving my favorite comfort dish: pumpkin soup. A few years ago, I tasted the pumpkin soup from Christian Constant’s kitchen and it comes to mind every time I want some cozy food to take away the chill. Recently, I had lunch at Philippe Excoffier’s eponymous restaurant on rue de l’Exposition in the 7th arrondissement, and he kindly shared his easy-to-make recipe for pumpkin soup. The photo above is how this lovely soup was served at the American Embassy in Paris for a special Thanksgiving day meal when he was head chef there.
While at the restaurant, I had a chance to flip through his beautiful cookbook Elegant Entertaining: Seasonal Recipes from the American Ambassador's Residence in Paris. You will drool at the beauty of the Haussmann-era embassy and the delicious recipes! Here's one for you to try at home: Philippe Excoffier’s delicious pumpkin soup! What makes the flavor so divine are the shallots and garlic, a good complement to naturally sweet pumpkin. The soup is extra special when prepared from a fresh pumpkin, but if you are short on time, canned pumpkin purée will work out great as well!
Philippe Excoffier’s Easy Pumpkin Soup – Potage de Potiron
- Serves: 8
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Total Time: 35 min (when using canned pumpkin purée)
3 cloves of garlic
4 cups of pumpkin puree – pure pumpkin, not salted/sugared or spiced. (alternatively 1 medium pumpkin (6 pounds). Cut open into big pieces, remove seeds and bake in oven at 385F for 45 minutes. Then remove skin.)
3 teaspoons olive oil
6 C (1.5 litre) chicken stock
3 TBSP (25 g) crème fraiche
¼ Cup (70 grams) butter
Salt and pepper
Garnish suggestions: Toasted hazelnuts and crème fraiche or sour cream.
- Peel shallots and slice thinly, then peel and chop the garlic.
- If you’re using a fresh pumpkin, see ingredient list for cooking directions. When cooked and peeled, puree with an electric whisk or in your blender.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the shallots. Stir for a minute or so – don’t let them burn.
- Add the garlic and stir for a minute, then add the pumpkin and stir for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Let the soup cook for 15 minutes before adding crème fraiche and butter.
- Pass it in blender or the electric soup whizzer and strain.
This recipe is just a small taste of what's to come this spring!