Pumpkin Soup with Red Pepper Mousse

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Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time:

Difficulty: Medium - experience needed


For mousse
• 1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-ounce envelope)
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1/3 cup chilled heavy cream

For soup
• 5 carrots, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 4- to 4 1/2-pound pumpkin or butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces (9 cups) Can used canned 100% pumpkin
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (40 fluid ounces)
• 3 1/2 cups water


Make mousse:
Purée peppers, oil, vinegar, paprika, and salt in a blender or food processor until very smooth.
Sprinkle gelatin over water in a 1-quart heavy saucepan and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Heat mixture over low heat, stirring, just until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in pepper purée 1 tablespoon at a time.
Beat cream in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds soft peaks. Fold in pepper mixture gently but thoroughly, then cover surface of mousse with plastic wrap and chill until set, at least 2 hours.

Make soup while mousse chills:
Cook carrots, onion, garlic, and bay leaf in oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add pumpkin, salt, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin begins to soften around edges, about 15 minutes. Stir in broth and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
Blend soup in batches in blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). May also use stick blender if using canned pumpkin.
Just before serving, return soup to pot and reheat over low heat. Ladle soup into bowls and top each serving with 1 1/2 tablespoons mousse drizzle.


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