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2000s Recipes + Menus

Pumpkin Soup with Red Pepper Mousse

Serves 8 to 10 (makes about 14 cups)
  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:3 hr (includes chilling mousse)
November 2004
A Spanish pumpkin soup gets a kick from red pepper mousse.

For mousse

  • 1 (12-oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup chilled heavy cream

For 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 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • (4- to 4 1/2- lb) pumpkin or butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces (9 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (40 fl oz)
  • 3 1/2 cups water

Make mousse:

  • 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 mixture gently but thoroughly, then cover surface of mousse with plastic wrap and chill until set, at least 2 hours.

Make soup 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 minutes. Add pumpkin, salt, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin begins to soften around edges, about 15 minutes. Stir in broth and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
  • Blend soup in batches in cleaned 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 tablespoons mousse.
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.