Sunday, November 25, 2007

a Thanksgiving feast... pumpkin bisque

We continue our Thanksgiving retrospective with a look at our soup course... or in this case, a "bisque course!"

Before we talk about the bisque, however, we need to focus on breads. During our orenji catering Thanksgiving feast, we served two types of breads: a quick bread and a yeast bread.

The quick bread we chose to serve was inspired by seasonal flavors and local produce-- in this case, pears. We made a delicious vanilla bean and crystallized ginger bread, into which we folded a selection of pear varieties. Look for more in-depth coverage of our favorite quick breads in a future post.

The yeast bread we created was a cloverleaf roll, slightly sweet, warm, and yeasty-- our guests remarked how this particular bread product evoked many memories of family and Thanksgivings past. The rolls were a perfect accompaniment to our bisque, and delicious with some of our acorn shaped butter melted into the soft risen bite-sized creations.

Which brings us to the bisque...
Here at orenji catering, we have discussed our culinary aesthetic many times... classic "simple" cooking which highlights fresh flavors and produce. This bisque is a perfect example. We started with some small, fresh sugar pumpkins, which were roasted overnight at a low temperature to caramelize the natural sugars inherent in the hard flesh. Once soft, the pumpkin was cooked with leeks, celery, carrots, chicken stock, sherry, fresh herbs, and seasonings. After pureeing and straining, we had a smooth and silky bisque, full of the concentrated flavors of autumn.
But we didn't stop there! In our opinion, all too often soup is texturally uninspired. We wanted to pair our delicious bisque with a deeper flavor and crunchier texture. We created a beggar's purse, again highlighting autumn flavors-- caramelized leeks, applewood smoked bacon, and five varieties of wild mushrooms: cremini, black trumpet, golden chanterelle, oak wood ear, and shiitake. Wrapped in a delicate, crispy, buttery pastry shell, the flavorful mushrooms were the perfect compliment to the smooth and light bisque. Finishing the dish was a white truffle-infused crema, dotted delicately throughout the bisque for a deep flavorful contrast.

All in all, it was a delicious bisque, which set the stage for our next course nicely: a warm salad. But more on that in our next post. Be sure to visit again!

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