Vegetarian Pumpkin Bisque
1 tbsp. peanut oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onions
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 medium size pumpkin (about 3 pounds)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 qt. vegetable stock, or vegetable broth
2 tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds (see recipe), optional
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Pierce the pumpkin several times and cook in the microwave on high power for 3 to 5 minutes until the shell softens. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and reserve them for making the toasted pumpkin seeds.
3. Place the pumpkin halves cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes. Let cool. Reserve the juice on the baking sheet.
4.. Scoop the pulp out of the pumpkin skin with a spoon and set aside.
5.. Heat the peanut oil in a deep saucepan over low heat. Add the onions, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.
6.. Add the pumpkin pulp and the stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
7. Reduce the heat and simmer until the onion and celery are completely tender, about 15 minutes.
8. After removing the bay leaf, puree the mixture in a blender, in batches, being careful not to overfill the blender.
9. Reheat the bisque. Add stock if it is too thick.
10. Serve hot, sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds.