Fall is the beautiful season of pumpkin—you’ll find them at the farmer’s market or at grocery produce shelves. To celebrate this orange beauty when it is most abundant, Michelin Chef Franck Salein, known for his delicate and flavorful cuisine inspired by fresh local ingredients and traditional French cooking, created this hearty pumpkin appetizer. Particularly in the month of October, many families make all kinds of dishes using pumpkin as the main ingredient, like cakes, gratins, crumbles, and pies. All these dishes are luscious sweet and savory. Perhaps the most popular and most beloved of these dishes is the rich and deliciously creamy pumpkin soup.
The use of cardamom in this recipe adds a touch of spice and aroma to the classic soup. This version is invigorating, even uplifting to the downtrodden spirits. This is a light appetizer so unlike many other pumpkin soup recipes. It is served in a small bowl or wide cappuccino cup to be enjoyed just like a cup of coffee. You can sip this smooth and velvety soup or you may enjoy it bit by bit with a spoon. For a totally indulgent first course, you will enjoy this dish with a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. The wine should not be too bold or carry too much oak so as not to overpower this delicately spicy dish. A creamy and complex white wine like Margaret River chardonnay complements very well the flavors used in this recipe. Pumpkin cappuccino with cardamom will likewise taste particularly spectacular with Fixin wines, which have a full body but delicate texture, and which produce both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The best kind of pumpkin to use for this recipe is the Muscade de Provence. It is not only sweet and musky in flavor but it also has a hint of hazelnut and that combines perfectly well with the aroma and flavor of cardamom. Other ingredients needed to make this recipe include onion, garlic, cardamom, thyme, bay leaf, salt, olive oil, pepper, poultry stock, and powdered milk.
1 lb. pumpkin
3.5 oz. onions
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons olive oil
thyme and laurel
2 tablespoons fowl stock
a few cardamom grains
0.53 oz. (about 1 tablespoon) powdered skim milk
1. Heat a saucepan with some olive oil. Add sliced onions and a clove of garlic. As soon as the onions turn translucent add the chunks of pumpkin slices. Season this with salt and pepper as you add a touch of cardamom seeds. Pour the poultry stock to add moisture to this recipe. Let it simmer gently without coming to a full boil. Add thyme and bay leaf. Cook for about 20 minutes.
2. When cooked, before pouring the soup in the blender, remove the garlic. Wait till you get a nice and creamy soup before turning off the blender. Let the mixture pass through a sieve to filter and get an extremely smooth consistency.
3. Boil some water and add powdered milk. Using an electric mixer, whip the milk into a chantilee mousse.
4. To serve, pour the pumpkin soup in a bowl. Using a Spoon the frothy milk, place a circle of the frothy milk mixture on top of the soup to decorate and also to flavor the soup.