Pumpkin Bisque and Mac n’ cheese

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and so has my cutie pie. He’s off to Kentucky for two months while I finish a 40 page paper and the rest of a busy semester. While he was here we made a vegan feast for my mom, stepdad, and stepbrother: all omnivores. The menu was as follows: pumpkin bisque, followed by festive vegan tart, mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts, sourdough stuffing, and scalloped corn, followed by cranberry apple crisp for dessert. It was a success, I think.

Turns out that bisque means twice cooked. Who knew? The pumpkin bisque requires roasting the pumpkin, followed by melanging it in a soup. I think I managed to make a trisque (haha) because later in the week I used the soup to make pumpkin macaroni and cheese. It was so good.

The recipe for the bisque comes from my favourite plant-powered cookbook, Crazy Sexy Kitchen. I am slowly cooking my way through it. By the way, great gift for any foodie, unless they really hate veganism or healthy food. Also, keep in mind that when I post recipes from cookbooks, I often use slightly different ingredients, so you should still check out the original if you are interested.

I doubled this recipe, which was totally worth it, and fed 5 on thanksgiving, 5 lunches, and still had enough for mac n’ cheese.

Ingredients for the bisque
1 tbsp oil
2 cups fresh pumpkin, or half a medium cooking pumpkin (will explain)
1 medium white onion, diced
3 or 4 shallots, diced
5 cloves of garlic, oven roasted (will explain)
3 cups veggie stock
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup sherry wine
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

To roast the pumpkin I cut it in half and took out the guts. The seeds were reserved for toasting later. I greased a cookie sheet and placed the pumpkin face down on it, then roasted it at 400*F for about 45 minutes to an hour. By inserting a fork it’s easy to tell when to take it out – if the fork goes in easily, it’s done.

Once the pumpkin was cooled, I cut it into smaller slices and used a fish de=boning knife to scrape the skin away from the pumpkin meat.

Another crucial step is to roast the garlic. At 400*F I placed five cloves of garlic in a tinfoil wrapped ball, having drizzled a bit of olive oil inside. I roasted the garlic for about 20 minutes. When it was done, it looked slightly brown when I opened up the foil.

Now the soup begins. I cooked the onion and shallots in oil until translucent, then added the rest of the ingredients. Using a hand blender, I pureed the soup until it was smooth. A blender would also do; a Vitamix would be superb. All that was left was to heat up the soup and serve with pumpkin seeds on top. Note that I did not used the pumpkin seeds that I roasted from the pumpkin, but rather used a different brand of store-bought pumpkin seeds. I found that the ones I made got too chewy in the soup (taste test!).

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Now for the mac n’ cheese….

Ingredients for pumpkin macaroni and cheese
2 cups pumpkin bisque
3 cups dry macaroni noodles
1 tbsp vegan margarine
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tbsp vegan margerine
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

I cooked the pasta until al dente and drained it, letting cool water pass over it to stop the cooking. In a sauce pan I melted 1 tbsp vegan margerine and made a roux with the flour (this involved whisking the flour with the butter and cooking it slightly, until a thick paste forms and bubbles). I added the pumpkin bisque and the rest of the ingredients, and whisked it until it came to a boil, letting it boil for a few minutes. The soup thickened up.

I put the cooked macaroni noodles into the sauce pan and mixed it until all the noodles were covered. I then transferred the noodles into a greased casserole dish.

In a small bowl I melted the other tablespoon of vegan margarine and then mixed in the breadcrumbs. I topped the casserole dish with the breadcrumb mixture, evenly spreading it over the macaroni. I baked the casserole for 20 minutes at 350*F with the lid on for most of it, but took the lid off and broiled it for a few minutes at the end.

I love pumpkin so much , so these dishes were a treat.