Pumpkin & Shrimp Bisque

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 
Some of you know that I like to have Meatless Monday at home. I think it helps get us to try new food (which normally isn't a struggle - I'll try anything) and think outside the box.  I could never be a vegetarian, but that doesn't mean that I dislike my veggie meals (or veggie friends of course.)  But sometimes, hubs immediately thinks that we'll end up having pasta on Meatless Monday, so it is more fun when I purposely do not incorporate the fantastic carbs.

But, what some of you don't know is that in the fall, I subject my hubs to a pumpkin meal at least once a week.  I do this until I see that look of "more pumpkin!?" in his eyes, which normally happens right after Thanksgiving.  I just adore pumpkin, I can't help it.  And this past Monday, I decided to combine our seafood and pumpkin dish into one, and since it is meat-free, why not make it Meatless Monday?

Once again, perusing some blogs, I found a dish I just couldn't pass up over at Closet Cooking - Pumpkin & Shrimp Bisque.

After shelling the crab, started off by creating a stock utilizing the shrimp shells, wine, onions, carrots, celery, sage, bay leaves (I had Turkish, it works) and some broth.  I had chicken bouillon on hand, which I'm sure gave it a smoother finish.  And yes, I realize chicken is meat, but just ignore that for right now.

After letting that simmer for a little over 30 minutes (to be honest, I cleaned out our coat closet and did some reorganizing during that point.  I like to multitask, I can't help it,) I drained the solids and was left with a great tasting broth.

I then added pumpkin, cayenne and cream.  I have to say, I really tried to stick to the recipe on this one (despite measuring, I don't really enjoy measuring...) and I have to say, it was a valiant effort.  Main reason why I didn't, no saffron was in my kitchen.  But that would have made it that much more heavenly.  However, I raised the spice bar just a little bit and was happy to have the back heat of cayenne on my palate.

This simmered for about 15 minutes (yes, I wrapped up putting the coats away before chopping up the shrimp that I had cleaned earlier) while I prepped the shrimp.  Sauteed the shrimp and continued to drool as the remainder of the dish came together.
Then, it was time for the pumpkin bowls!  I put some shrimp in them, then ladled the soup on top before adding a combination of sage, lemon zest, garlic and toasted pine nuts.

It really was a great dish - had a nice lemony flavor from both the sage and zest which lightened what many people think of a "heavy" pumpkin cream soup.  The crunch of the pine nuts contrasted well with the smooth soup, and I loved the taste of the shrimp combined with the pumpkin.  Though the richness of the toasted nuts could have added too much to the already rich soup, this didn't happen at all - I chalk that up to the lemon.

I love pumpkin soup, so this was a great variation of what I normally make.  The shrimp was fantastic in it, and the leftovers were as good the next day.

Any other pumpkin lovers out there?  How do you feel about combining with seafood?