Creamy Pumpkin and Mushroom Soup – Velouté de Potiron et de Cèpes

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Creamy Pumpkin and Mushroom Soup – Velouté de Potiron et de Cèpes
Is it starting to feel like autumn where you are? A colleague of mine just returned from Paris and told me that the weather was incredible there—she told me it felt like a glorious “Indian summer” and that the markets were bursting with the vibrant oranges and reds of fall. Here in Georgia, the weather is still hot but the markets are just like the Paris markets and filled with autumn colors like pumpkins, butternut squash, grapes, turnips, radishes and sweet potatoes. Let’s get into the spirit with this delicious, creamy fall soup that I learned from Chef Françoise Meunier. Et voilà: Creamy Pumpkin and Mushroom Soup — Veloute de Potiron et de Cepes Use the flesh from a small pumpkin or butternut squash. A Japanese Kabocha would work well with this recipe, too. INGREDIENTS: •1 lb. cubed pumpkin or butternut squash •1 small potato •1.5 oz. dried cepes (porcini mushrooms) •1 celery branch (w/leaves) •1 chicken bouillon cube •1-1/2 Tablespoons butter •salt and pepper •4 Tablespoons heavy cream To Garnish the Soup: •1/2 cup heavy cream •poppy seeds •2 slices of bacon •celery leaves or parsley stems   PREPARATION: 1. Cut the pumpkin/squash, celery and potato into cubes. Reserve the celery leaves for garnish. 2. Cover the porcini with hot water. 3. In a large casserole, melt the butter. 4. Add the pumpkin and celery. 5. Drain the mushrooms and add them to the casserole. 6. Sweat the vegetables for 5 minutes. 7. Pour in 8 cups of hot water, the bouillon cube and season with salt and pepper. Add the potato and simmer for about 20 minutes. The pumpkin and potato should be tender. 8. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. If using a blender, puree in batches. Return the soup to the pot and keep warm while preparing the garnish. 9. Microwave or fry the bacon. 10. Whip the cream, adding a bit of salt, to soft peaks.   To serve: Pour the soup into 4 bowls. Cut the bacon in half. Add a dollop of the whipped cream, a bacon slice and sprinkle with the poppy seeds.   If you’re in Paris: City Segway Tours are great for seeing Paris in a different light. You’ll see more, have more fun, and not feel tired at the end of it. These are highly recommended and truly a great thing to do during your stay. Fat Tire Bike Tours are another great way to see the city. You’ll get the company of an expert guide, the use of a super-comfortable bike, great tips and advice about what to do while in town and an exciting, informative and educational experience.
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