Lake Norman Magazine

It’s the ‘Great Grill Roasted Pumpkin’!

Pumpkins are way more than just something to carve into a jack-o-lantern. Ornamental pumpkins are great to use a decoration and the extremely large ones sitting on a bale of hay are quite festive looking, but have you ever tasted fresh roasted pumpkin?The flesh of a fresh pumpkin, when roasted, has a great earthy squash taste that has just the least little bit of sweetness. Also the seeds can be boiled in salted water and roasted for a great snack or used as a garnish.Unfortunately most folks only encounter with pumpkin is from a can or store bought pumpkin pie. Both are great, however; there is simply nothing like the taste of fresh pumpkin.There is a small window for the great seasonal taste of pumpkin, so every year it is fun to try and invite new ways to use roasted pumpkin. (Insert Bubba’s voice from Forrest Gump)Pumpkin ricotta gnocchi, pumpkin blue cheese ravioli, pumpkin ginger pie, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin cheesecakeand the list goes on and on.Using the small pie size pumpkins are the easiest to work with because they are easier to handle. Simply cut them in half, top from bottom, using a serrated knife. Drizzle with oil, season and turn cut side down on a foil lined baking tray. Roast for one hour; or until tender in a 350 degree oven, remove and allow to cool. Scoop out the flesh and use in any recipe you desire.Remember if substituting fresh roasted pumpkin, for the canned stuff, that fresh isn’t seasoned so adjust with salt and pepper or sugar if for a dessert. Another option is something I like to call grill roasting, which is explained in detail below. Making use of the grill for roasting fresh pumpkin incorporates an element of smoke and char that will take the flavor to a completely new place.However you use fresh pumpkin just make sure you do it soon, because before you know it they will all be gone until next year. For more fresh roasted pumpkin recipes visit Watch Chef Troy on Fox Charlotte’s - Fox News Rising morning show each and every Tuesday from 7-9 am. To contact Chef Troy email him at Grill Roasted Pumpkin Soup Serves 4 to 6· 5-6 Pounds-Pie Pumpkin/s-stem removed, halved and seeds removed

· To Coat-Canola Oil

· To Taste-Kosher Salt

· 1/2 Pound-Bacon-thin sliced

· 1/2 Cup-Red Onion-fine diced

· 1 Each-Pear-Bosc or your favorite

· 2 Cloves-Garlic-fine diced

· 1/4 Teaspoon-Cumin

· 1/4 Teaspoon-Ancho Chili Pepper

· Small Pinch-Cayenne Pepper

· 5 Cups-Vegetable or Chicken Stock

· 2 Cups-Whole Milk

· 1/2 Cup-Heavy Cream

· To Garnish-Pumpkin Seeds

· To Garnish-Goat Cheese

Pumpkin:Pumpkin Grill RoastingPreheat grill for direct and indirect heat grilling to medium heat, about 350 degrees. Half pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and lightly oil the flesh side of the pumpkin/s, season with Chef Troy’s Back Rub or kosher salt and place on the direct heat side of the grill. Grill just long enough to slightly char the flesh that is touching the grates, the dome part of the pumpkin won’t char because it isn’t directly on the fire.Roasting: Once the pumpkin has been charred it is time to start the roasting. Do this by placing a double layered piece of aluminum foil on the top rack of the grill over the in-direct heat side of the grill. The foil should be long and/or wide enough so that the pumpkin can be placed cut side down on the foil and be completely on the foil. After placing the pumpkin on the foil close the lid and let the pumpkin slow roast for 45 minutes to one hour or until tender. Let pumpkin cool just long enough to handle and scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin out and place in a bowl until ready to use. 1 Pound of raw pumpkin yields about 1 cup of roasted pumpkin. Soup: Warm a large stock pot over medium high heat, add bacon, cook until just crispy and remove from the pan. Place on a paper towel lined plate and leave the bacon drippings in the pot. Immediately add the onion, pear, garlic, cumin, ancho pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook stirring frequently until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add roasted pumpkin and continue to cook. Break up pumpkin while stirring and cook another 5 minutes. Add the stock and milk, stir to combine.Bring the soup to a strong simmer, stirring frequently, lower heat to medium and cook soup starts to thicken, about 30 minutes.Using a hand blender puree soup until smooth; or transfer soup to a blender or food processor, in batches, and blend until smooth. Be very careful when blending hot foods, always place a towel on the blender top and only fill about half full, hot liquids expand when blended and may overflow out of the blender.After pureeing the soup, add the heavy cream, stir to combine, taste and re-season if needed.To serve, ladle into a single serving bowl, top with crumbled goat cheese, crispy bacon and a few pumpkin seeds.