Oct 8, 2009

Surprise Mail

The Dock at Blackberry Farm

Having not checked my mail in a few days due to the depressing collection of bills, junk mail and mags for Hubs which have been arriving on a daily basis, I was pleasantly surprised last night.  No bills, and no junk.  Instead, Town and Country, Vanity Fair, House Beautiful, Anthropologie, and my invitation to join Nine O'Clock Cotillion (which I was hoping I would receive).  The only bad thing was a shower invitation (I hate showers- the gifting kind, not hygiene).  And really compared to a bill- not bad at all!

So while watching Glee (my new fave show, please don't get cancelled), I settled in for a perusal of the new T&C, and was once again pleasntly surprised.  A family friend was profiled in the magazine in a section detailing Thanksgiving menus of four fab hosts.  It also provided a little shopping advice to make your Thanksgiving as wonderful as the Bealls- head here for a cookbook, jam and cornmeal, to make your own little Blackberry Farm experience. 

We have spent the past couple of Thanksgivings at the Beach Barn in Watercolor, so I am looking forward to a crisp cool Thanksgiving this year.  I think this pumpkin soup courtesy of the chefs at Blackberry sounds right up my alley.  It will probably be an all day affair, which is one of my favorite ways to spend a day- in the kitchen!  Excpet for the time I decided to smoke the turkey.  My brother was supposed to stay up late with me, drinking beer and turning the bird.  At six am, solo and sober, with an uncooked bird, I gave up.  Stuck that sucker in the oven, and told my mama it would be supper and not dinner this year. 

Makes 2 quarts

Pumpkin Soup:

1 small baking pumpkin (about 3 pounds)
1/2 small yellow onion, large dice (4 ounces)
1 leek, washed, large dice (4 ounces)
1 carrot, peeled, large dice (5 ounces)
5 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups olive oil
2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups duck fat, melted
2 quarts + 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup honey

Cornmeal Sage Dumplings
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons masa harina
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ounces shortening
1/4 cup milk
Peanut oil or vegetable oil
1/4 cup crème fraîche
Fresh sage leaves

Pumpkin Soup:
Cut pumpkin in half and take out the seeds. Cut the halves of pumpkin in quarters and cut the pumpkin rind off. Cut pumpkin flesh into 1-inch by 2-inch pieces. In a Dutch oven, crock pot or deep baking dish, put the pumpkin, onion, leek, carrot, thyme and bay leaves. Combine oils and fat and pour over the vegetables and herbs. Cook at 200ºF covered for 5 hours.

Cornmeal Sage Dumplings:
While the soup is cooking, combine the flour, cornmeal, masa harina, sugar, baking powder, pepper, sage and salt. Cut and work shortening into the flour mixture (as you would for biscuits) until the mixture resembles the texture of parmesan cheese. Stir in milk until dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut with a 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, the smallest in a set of round cutters. Cover and refrigerate dumplings until ready to use.

Pumpkin Soup, continued:
Strain out or remove pumpkin, onion, leek and carrots from the fat. Cool and save the fat for future pumpkin soup use. Puree vegetables with the stock, salt, pepper and honey in a blender until completely smooth. For a more chunky soup, do not strain. For a smooth soup, strain soup through a medium-holed strainer.

Heat peanut oil or vegetable oil in a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepot to 350ºF.
Reheat soup over a low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepot, stirring often.
Deep-fry the cornmeal sage dumplings, using 2 tablespoons to portion each dumpling, in peanut or vegetable oil until they are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes, and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. The dumplings can also be baked on a parchment-lined baking tray at 375ºF for 7 to 10 minutes.

Garnish soup with the Cornmeal Sage Dumplings, a dollop of crème fraîche and a few fresh sage leaves.


  1. The Blackberry Farm cookbook has been getting such good press! I haven't cooked with pumpkin yet this year - I keep waiting for it to get a little cooler (it's still pseudo-fall down here in Dallas). Thanks for these!

    And AGREED on Glee!

  2. Not quite sure how I've not stumbled upon your blog sooner, but I LOVE it.

    GLEE's my new favorite as well. From what I hear it's doing amazing in the ratings department (one of the best on TV right now) so I think it's here to stay.

    *New follower

  3. I love Glee -- I made my brother watch it last night and he admitted it was "charming". I don't know if I'm ruining him or training him for future girlfriends/wife.

  4. I love Glee, too, but I still have last week's and this week's episode to watch on DVR.

    What is the Nine O'Clock Cotillion? Sounds fun!

    Since I love pumpkin everything, I would love to try this soup recipe. I'm just not sure I can find anyone else who will eat it, since I seem to be the only one in the family with an affinity for pumpkin!


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