Pumpkin Soup with Creamy Roquefort
Adapted from Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking (Wiley, 2009)
"Roquefort, rather heady in its natural state, but mild and mellow when cooked, gives this easy-to-make soup a characteristic Southwest French flavor," says Paula Wolfert. She recommends using a 3-quart glazed or unglazed earthernware or flameware casserole for this recipe.
- 2 1/2 pounds pumpkin or butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 ounces sliced prosciutto or lean pancetta, shredded
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup diced, crustless dense country bread, toasted in a dry skillet until golden
Pare the pumpkin, cut it into large chunks, and discard the seeds and fibrous centers. Cut enough of the flesh into 1-inch dice to make 5 cups or 1 1/2 pounds cleaned pumpkin or squash. Place the pumpkin cubes and sugar in the eaternware casserole and warm over low heat. Gradually raise the heat to medium-low, cover with a sheet of parchment paper and the lid, and steam for 10 minutes.
Add the prosciutto and shallot and cook, covered, for 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Add 3 cups hot water to the casserole, bring to a boil, and cook at a simmer until everything is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the soup in batches to a blender and puree until smooth.
Add the cream, the butter, and the cheese to the last batch of soup in the blender and puree until velvety.
Reheat the soup and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and top each portion with the toasted croutons.
4 to 6 servings