Pumpkin Saffron Bisque

An adaptation of the recipe from The Food Network. We've used marina di chioggia and speckled hen pumpkins from our favorite farmer at Eastern Market. A butternut squash can also be used.

* 1 rustic nutty pumpkin
* 1 Tbsp butter, melted
* 3 cups vegetable stock
* Pinch saffron
* 2 Tbsp flavorful olive oil
* 2 teaspoons harissa
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon allspice
* 1/4 teaspoon ginger
* 2 bay leaves
* Pinch cloves
* 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
* Finely chopped chives
* Sliced almonds and/or pistachios
* Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450F.
Cut and deseed pumpkin. Slice into wedges.
Place pumpkin in a baking dish and brush the cut side with melted butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake in the oven covered for 30 minutes, remove foil and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender.
Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, grind saffron with a pinch of salt.
Add a few tablespoons of boiling water and let steep, at least 10 minutes.

Scoop pumpkin flesh out of skin and put into large saucepan.
Mash flesh a bit with a potato masher.
Add stock.
Bring to a gentle boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree the mix.

Add the saffron mixture, olive oil, harissa, and spices to the soup and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, remove from the heat and whisk in the creme fraiche.
Adjust the seasoning (especially salt) to taste.

Ladle into bowls.
Dust with paprika and garnish with nuts.
Serve with bread.

Pumpkin Saffron Soup
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