How to prepare the pumpkin shell soup tureen:
Wash the outside of the pumpkin with warm water and pat it dry. Using a sharp knife, insert the tip and cut away a round section from the top of the pumpkin to form a lid. Scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane with a large spoon.
Spray the pumpkin inside and out with non-stick cooking spray. Lightly sprinkle the inside with salt. Spray a heavy baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and place the pumpkin on the baking sheet. Place the lid beside the pumpkin, cut side down.
Bake in a preheated oven at 325° for 1 hour or slightly longer, depending on the size of the pumpkin, until the inside of the pumpkin shell just begins to soften. The shell will be a deep orange color and have a shine from the cooking spray. (Do not over bake. An over-baked shell will not support the weight of the soup.) Remove from the oven and gently scoop out any remaining stringy areas you might have missed. Check the bottom of the lid as well.
Ingredients Creamy Pumpkin Soup
In a large saucepan or stockpot, lightly saute the chopped onions and celery in 1/4 cup butter. Puree the onion and celery in a food processor or blender. Put back in the pan. Add the chicken broth, pumpkin puree, half and half, Parmesan cheese, spices and the bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining butter. Pour the hot soup into the prepared pumpkin shell. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and drizzle half and half on top.
Appeared in print 10/27/10