Soupe de Potimarron au beurre noisette (pumpkin soup with sage brown butter)


*This is an old post from the Chez Pim archives.  I’m a little bit overwhelmed at the moment, so hopefully this season-appropriate post from last year can keep you occupied for a bit until I’m back here chez moi.*

This is a pumpkin with many names.  It’s called Potimarron in French, or Hokkaido Squash in English, or Kuri Pumpkin (from Uchiki Kuri in Japanese), I’ve also heard it referred to as Chestnut Pumpkin, or even Red-skin Kabocha.  I first encountered it in France, where the name Potimarron combined the two words Potiron, for pumpkin, and Marron, for chestnut, which are the two characteristic flavors of this particular pumpkin.  Or is it a squash?  I never can tell the difference.  Perhaps someone could enlighten me?

Potimarron –which, yes, by any other name would be as delicious- makes a perfect bowl of soup.  The cooked flesh is sweet but much less so than its cousin Kabocha, making it perfect for a savory soup, and the chestnut flavor adds an unexpected complexity to the simple soup.  It’s also so very easy to make, using just a few ingredients, and doesn’t require any tool more sophisticated than a hand blender or a normal blender to make a perfectly smooth soup. 

You could also puree it with a tiny amount of cream, like we did when in Mougins last year.  The puree was perfectly silky without needing a few passes through the Chinois.  We paired the gorgeous orange purée with just as gorgeous seared foie gras.

This time, I made the simple soup to warm a cool day and garnished with a handful of croutons and a few drops of sage brown butter.  How simple, and how delicious.

Soupe de Potimarron

Soupe de Potimarron, au beurre noisette à la sauge
Chestnut pumpkin soup with sage brown butter

For the soup
1 2-3 pounds Potimarron, or Kuri pumpkin, or, you get the picture
1/2 small onion, cut into cubes
3 cups of milk
3 tbsp of crème fraîche, (you can also use yogurt or sour cream)
1 tbsp butter, soft
salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish
1 cup of croutons (trim and cut stale bread into small cubes and sauté with a little butter until brown)
4 tbsp butter
3 sage leafs

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.

2. Cut the Potimarron into quarters, scoop out the seeds, and rub 1/2 tablespoon of the butter all over the exposed surface. Bake the Potimarron quarters in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

3. While the Potimarron is baking, cook the cubed onion in a sauté pan with the rest of the butter and a pinch of salt over a very low heat.  Let the onion cooked, while stirring every so often, until uniformly brown and caramelized but not burn, for about 20-25 mins.

4. When the Potimarron is cooked through, take them out of the oven and let cool for a little bit. (You may test the doneness with a knife, if the blade goes through the flesh easily then it is done.)

5. While the Potimarron is cooling down, make the sage brown butter.  In the smallest pot you own, preferably a small butter warmer, cook the 4 tbsp butter with the sage leafs until completely melted over low heat.  The butter will foam up as it cooks, when the foam subsides, let it continue to cook until you can see the bits of milk solids at the bottom of the pot turning brown.  Take the pot off the heat immediately and let cool.  If you’ve overcook the butter and the brown bits are getting a bit too brown, then strain the butter into a cool bowl immediately.  If not, you can leave the butter and sage leafs to macerate in the warm pot until ready to use. 

6.  When the Potimarron quarters are cool enough to handle, scoop out the meat with a spoon.  The cooked flesh should separate readily from the skin.  You should have about 3-3.5 cups of cooked Potimarron.

5. Add the Potimarron flesh in a medium pot with the three cups of milk, the caramelized onion, a generous handful of salt, and a few turns of the pepper grinder.  Let cook on low heat until it comes to a gentle boil.  Turn the heat off, then blend the content of the pot into a smooth puree, either with a hand blender or in a stand blender. 

6. If using a stand blender, pour the blended soup back into the pot and let cook gently over low heat.  Add the three tablespoons of crème fraîche (or yogurt of sour cream).  Keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot or it will burn.  Add more salt if needed.  When the soup comes back to a gentle boil, turn the heat off and serve.

7. Serve in a warm bowl with a small handful of croutons and a teaspoon -or two, or three, as you wish- of the sage brown butter.


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  • sooishi

    delicious recipe and magnifique photos!

  • Jessica

    I have been begging my boyfriend to make pumpkin soup for weeks. I am taking him this post, and the inspirational photos…and I know I’m going to get my pumpkin soup! Great post!

  • lee

    All pumpkins are squash but not all squash are pumkins.

  • Marc

    Squash or pumpkin? I was pondering the same thing this weekend when I opened a can of “pumpkin” to make pumpkin bread, knowing that the contents were really Hubbard squash. So I went to Elizabeth Schneider’s “Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini.” She gives a good answer: “What’s a pumpkin anyway? Pretty much anything you want it to be, provided it’s a hard skinned squash. There is no correct response. The group has no botanical (or other) distinction. Local usage dictates. What is considered ‘pumpkin’ changes from country to country and region to region.”

  • eva

    Elle a juste l’air délicieuse !

  • Txacoli

    My very first “nouvelle” haute cusine dish was the Paul Bocuse pumpkin soup…..All the ingredients are piled into the hollowed out potimarron and baked. After an hour or so, we would ever so delicately whisk the flesh away from the sides…hit the liquid with an immersion blender, and serve it from the pumpkin. We still do it….and are still trying to carve a pumpkin ladle that won’t break!

  • Erika

    Oh my, that looks good. I love your photos!
    At Thanksgiving (I’m Canadian, so that was in October), my sister cooked a Kuri squash and mixed it with chunks of baked apple. MMM! So I bought (an organic) one. Unfortunately, it didn’t bake long enough and I didn’t manage to get it very soft after that in the microwave. Suffice to say, with one person eating most of one, I couldn’t eat the whole thing before finally having to throw it out. I’m sure had it been soft enough, it would have been gone very, very quickly. I make it with cinnamon, cloves, and a little bit of nutmeg.
    About the pumpkin thing, though, that’s what my boyfriend thought it was! I said no, it’s a squash. My other favourites are buttercup and butternut squash,; both excellent. I prefer them less stringy. More like a pumpkin, I guess :)
    Au revoir!

  • QPC

    “pumpkin” is a culinary term, not botanical. a squash is the fruit of a member of the genus Cucurbita. a pumpkin is an orange-fleshed winter (hard-fleshed) squash.
    tis all.

  • Nate

    I’ve never been able to fathom how the pumpkin became a “second class” food. As versatile as delicious.

  • Scott at Real Epicurean

    That sounds perfect for these long autumn days…

  • Mikeachim

    Some food is meant to be *devoured* (not just eaten) in cold weather.
    And to think, so many people hollow them out for Halloween and *throw away the insides*.
    Well, I guess they’ll live joyless lives.

  • Grignote et Barbotine

    De la simplicité et du raffinement !
    I find what to do with the rest of my potiron, I already made un scone et des cupcakes.

  • dom

    c’est pour quand le blog en Français ?

  • casey

    Made this last night from a lovely Hokkaido squash I bought at the Cabrillo farmer’s market. DELICIOUS!

  • Dianka

    Just lovely! What a perfect blend of flavors, wish I could taste some =)

  • Gabrielle

    Recipe sounds wonderful. Even better is the fact that this pumpkin can be used whole; just wash before baking in the oven.

  • Margaret

    Sounds lovely.
    We leave the skin on and puree it with the rest. A simpler soup: chop up, remove seeds, brown leeks and garlic, add a bit of tomato paste, then the hokkaido, water, and simmer till cooked. Puree or put through mouli and possibly put a spoonful of sour cream in each bowl (This is in Germany)

  • Jeremy

    I am pretty sure it is a squash. I have seen it at local farmers markets dubbed “Red Kuri Squash”

  • georgie

    I used to hate pumpkin as a child, but I’ve come full circle now and I love it. My favourite pumpkin recipe is a coconut and lemongrass Thai style pumpkin soup but this one sounds great and I’m definitely going to try it.

  • Anthony

    I’m so glad you posted this, Pim, as I’ve been meaning to make pumpkin soup for a while. These are probably the most common type of pumpkin/squash here in southern Germany (they’re called Hokkaido pumpkins here), and since I had some left over from making pumpkin pie for a belated Thanksgiving feast the other day, I decided to adapt your recipe with a bit of nutmeg and parmesan cheese. It turned out delicious and went spectacularly well with the ’05 Weissburgunder (pinot blanc) Spätlese Trocken from Weingut Bergdolt in the Pfalz I happened to have left over. Its pure fruit and background of spice were the perfect foil for the pumpkin. Could there be any better way to celebrate this time of year?

  • Shaun

    Hi Pim –
    I was just planning my 2007 garden and came across this… I’m curious but I’ve never tasted it. Do you think this would make a good filling for pasta, like a ravioli or lasagna?

  • Pim

    Anthony, I can’t think of a better way myself.
    Shaun, I think this pumpkin will make a perfect ravioli filling. I might try it myself soon.

  • Flower Girl

    lolzz…Yes i think so too….i tried your soup as well…its yummyy….
    Thanks for the post anyways

  • Flower Girl

    lolzz…Yes i think so too….i tried your soup as well…its yummyy….
    Thanks for the post anyways

  • R khooks

    Hey I just bought one of those at the market today. Great recipe.

  • R khooks

    Hey I just bought one of those at the market today. Great recipe.

  • Joe

    nice looking soup chez. I made a similar one a couple of days ago – roasted pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, and parsnip soup, with roasted garlic and coconut milk in it.
    check this picture out:
    I roasted some pumpkin and squash seeds and used them as a garnish! they were so good.

  • Joe

    nice looking soup chez. I made a similar one a couple of days ago – roasted pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, and parsnip soup, with roasted garlic and coconut milk in it.
    check this picture out:
    I roasted some pumpkin and squash seeds and used them as a garnish! they were so good.

  • My Simple Food

    My mom’s favourite but I have never cooked it before. But will try it one day. Thanks.

  • Dana

    @ Joe
    I just looked at your picture- is this some kind of joke? You did not peel the pumpkin seeds????

  • Joe

    Have you ever eaten pumpkin seeds?? unlike sunflower seeds, once roasted, the shells are soft enough to eat without removing!

  • Lauren

    Thank you so much for the recipe. It was fantastic

  • Mimi

    Excelent. Just don’t no why removing the skin of the squash. If baking for 45 min., it’s completely soft.

  • Atopijski Dermatitis

    I just made this tonight and it was delicious! Thanks for this recipe. You can’t beat how easy it is, plus it tastes great.
    Thanks again!

  • magic of spice

    I would love to try this…

  • Truth About Abs

    Mmmmmmm! Looks delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe! =)

  • Lauren

    In my aversion to savory stock-based pumpkin soups, I always have an eye peeled for alternative methods… and I am thrilled to come across yours. I imagine the carmelized onion adds a wonderful depth of flavor (and just the right amount of savory notes) to the mild sweetness of the milk and pumpkin.
    Thank you for sharing this! I now know what fate awaits the kabocha I have sitting at home, waiting for me. :)

  • Wary

    where are the chestnuts?

  • Wary

    where are the chestnuts?

  • Wary

    where are the chestnuts?

  • Wary

    where are the chestnuts?

  • Wary

    where are the chestnuts?

  • Wary

    where are the chestnuts?