Alain Ducasse's Cream Of Pumpkin Soup
If you haven't had the chance (or the bank) to dine at Adour, the new restaurant from Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, check out the new cookbook "Ducasse Made Simple by Sophie." It contains 100 recipes from the master chef, simplified for the home cook by French chef Sophie Dudemaine.
The ingredients are clearly listed down the left side of each page, so you can tell at a glance just how simple each recipe is. Like this cream of pumpkin soup, reprinted with permission:
Cream of Pumpkin Soup
from "Ducasse Made Simple by Sophie"
This is a lovely, bright fall soup. Look for small (2- to 3-pound) "sugar" pumpkin that is ideal for cooking. (The large "jack-o'-lantern" pumpkins are too tough, and have lost their sugar; some have been wax-coated for longevity. Always make sure a pumpkin is suitable for cooking.) To dress this soup up in a variety of ways, Chef Ducasse suggests garnishes such as small, homemade croutons sautéed in butter or a spoonful of wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, sautéed in olive oil. You can also add a pinch of spicy ground red chili pepper to the heavy cream before whipping.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 leek (white part only), thinly sliced
1 pound sugar pumpkin, cut into small chunks and peeled
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
5 ounces slab bacon, diced small
1/2 cup heavy cream
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and leek, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until they soften and begin to look translucent. Stir in the pumpkin and a dash of salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, add the ricotta cheese, and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
While the soup is cooking, heat a medium skillet over high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and sightly crispy. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream with a pinch of salt until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Ladle the pumpkin soup into warmed bowls and garnish each serving with the diced bacon. Add a generous spoonful of whipped cream in the center of each bowl and serve immediately.