Baked Whole Pumpkin Soup

Found on the Botanical Interest website, this delicious pumpkin soup recipe takes a little time to prepare, but it’s so worth it and the fragrance is amazing!
You’ll love how it creates a deliciously-elegant display on the dinner table. As is, the recipe is gluten free and simple to adapt for a paleo or vegan diet. Serves 4-6.
1 whole Pumpkin (or other round, winter squash), approximately 4–5 pounds, washed
1–2 teaspoons unflavored Oil for greasing pumpkin and baking dish
1 Tablespoon Butter or Cooking oil
2 medium-large Leeks, sliced (or substitute 1/4 cup Onion, diced)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Apple, cored and diced
1 cup Vegetable broth
½–3/4 cup Heavy cream or full-fat Coconut milk
2 ounces Goat cheese, optional
1 tablespoon Garam Masala (or other seasoning of choice)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Make a lid on the top of the pumpkin by cutting around the stem at an inward, 45° angle. The lid should leave a large enough hole so you can fit your hand in, and work inside the pumpkin. Remove and discard (or save for roasting) the seeds and long fibers by scraping the sides of the pumpkin with a metal spoon. Apply a bit of oil to the outside of your pumpkin and to a baking dish it can sit in, using a brush or paper towel.
3. Put the butter or oil, leeks, garlic, apple, broth, and salt in the hollow pumpkin. Replace the lid of the pumpkin to cover. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
4. Remove the pumpkin from the oven. Using a hot pad, remove the lid, and wait until the pumpkin is cool enough to work in.
5. Using a metal spoon scrape the pumpkin flesh into the soup mixture, being careful not to puncture the pumpkin shell.
a. If you are using an immersion blender, add the cream, goat cheese, and garam masala (or chosen seasoning) to the pumpkin and purée, being careful to avoid puncturing the pumpkin wall.
b. If using a blender, put all ingredients in the blender in small batches, blend until smooth, and return soup to the pumpkin shell.
6. Add pepper and check seasonings. If you are not serving the soup right away, store the pumpkin and soup separately in the refrigerator. Reheat soup inside the pumpkin at 375°F.

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