FRESH PUMPKIN OR ACORN SQUASH SOUP
about 1½ to 2 quarts, 6 to 8 servings
Place pumpkin or squash in a microwave oven on a sheet of wax paper; microwave at HIGH power for 2 to 4 minutes, or until pumpkin or squash is easy to cut with a sharp knife. Allow pumpkin or squash to cool for easier handling. With a sharp knife, cut pumpkin or squash into quarters or small to medium-size pieces; remove seeds and stringy pulp and discard (may reserve seeds for toasting, if desired). Remove peel with a peeler or sharp knife and discard. May cut a few bite-size cubes of pumpkin or squash and reserve for garnish, if desired. Finely mash or puree pumpkin or squash in a blender container, covered, at medium speed until smooth. May add some of the chicken broth to blender container to make pureeing easier, if desired.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine mashed or pureed pumpkin or squash, chicken or vegetable broth, celery, and onion. Bring mixture to a simmer over moderate heat; reduce heat to low and season to taste with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for about 30 minutes to blend flavors. Add additional chicken broth or wine or water as desired if soup is too thick. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve hot or chilled as desired. May garnish each serving with bite-size cubes of cooked pumpkin or squash and/or a dollop of sour cream and/or a sprinkle of minced parsley, if desired.
Note: The flavor will not be the same when using canned pumpkin; however, the preparation will be easier.
Note: Soup may be stored in a tightly closed glass or plastic container for 3 to 4 days. Or, soup may be frozen in a tightly sealed freezer container.
Variations: Add 2 to 3 tablespoons or to taste finely grated peeled gingerroot to soup mixture.
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