Chinese Pumpkin Soup with Chestnuts and Shrimp

This mouthwatering Chinese soup contains a great combination of pumpkin, shrimp, rice, chestnuts and more. A fish bouillon is the base for this flavorful pumpkin soup recipe, although you could use chicken if you prefer it.

A lot of Chinese soup recipes are flavored with sherry and wine, like this one, especially Chinese fish soup recipes because the sherry and wine really enhance the delicate fish flavor. You can use the pumpkin flesh from the pumpkin tureen to make the soup. Choose a squat pumpkin for making a tureen, rather than a very upright one. The hollowed out, baked shell makes an elegant soup tureen and a big pumpkin holds enough soup for a dinner party or family gathering. You can use little pumpkin shells for individual servings.

A delicious pumpkin soup served in a hollowed out pumpkin shell. When making a pumpkin tureen, it is always better to undercook it than overcook it. An overcooked tureen will not hold its shape and if the pumpkin flesh inside is slightly undercooked, it will finish off nicely in the soup recipe and everything will be soft and flavorful. It is up to you whether you use chestnuts or water chestnuts in this Chinese pumpkin soup. Both are very flavorful but they taste very different, so the preparation for both is described in the recipe. You can choose whichever you prefer.

Chinese Soup with Pumpkin, Shrimp, and Chestnuts

Ingredients:

For the Pumpkin Tureen:

  • 1 large pumpkin, for the tureen
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray (optional)

For the Pumpkin Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots
  • Cooked pumpkin flesh from inside pumpkin tureen
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ¼ cup raw rice
  • ½ cup chopped raw shrimp
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 15 fresh chestnuts or 15 drained, canned water chestnuts
  • 3 cups fish bouillon made from 2 bouillon cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup sherry
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Lettuce and cucumber slices, to garnish the serving plate

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Wash the large pumpkin that you are going to use as a tureen in warm water with soap and rinse it well. Dry it, and then insert the tip of a sharp knife about 1/3 of the way down and cut the top away to make a lid.
  2. You can use a fruit knife to make a pattern or simply slice it off straight across. Scoop out the stringy mass and seeds. Keep the seeds for roasting. Oil the inside and outside of the pumpkin and sprinkle the salt inside.
  3. Put the pumpkin and lid on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake the pumpkin for 60 to 90 minutes or until it is soft. Remove it from the oven and let it cool.
  4. Scoop out soft of the soft pumpkin flesh, taking care not to puncture the shell. Reserve the pumpkin flesh for the pumpkin soup recipe.
  5. Turn the oven up to 425 degrees F if you are going to use fresh chestnuts. Cut an X in the top of each chestnut and toss them with salt, pepper, and the canola oil. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast them for 30 minutes or until tender. Alternatively, you can microwave them on high for a minute and a half until the nuts split open. Let them cool, then peel and chop them.
  6. If you are using water chestnuts, cut them in half and reserve them on one side.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a big pot, and then add the butter, shallots, and onion. Cook them until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the reserved pumpkin flesh and cook for a couple of minutes. Add cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. Add the rice, wine, fish bouillon, and sherry.
  8. Turn the heat down and simmer the pumpkin soup for 45 minutes, then blend it until smooth in a food processor or blender.
  9. Return it to the pot and add the chestnuts and shrimps. Cook until the chestnuts are warm and the shrimps are pink. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if need be.
  10. Pour the soup into the baked pumpkin shell and serve on a plate garnished with lettuce, and cucumber slices.

(Serves 8)

A delicious pumpkin soup served in a hollowed out pumpkin shell. When making a pumpkin tureen, it is always better to undercook it than to overcook it. An overcooked tureen will not hold its shape and if the pumpkin flesh inside is slightly undercooked, it will finish off nicely in the soup recipe and everything will be soft and flavorful. It is up to you whether you use chestnuts or water chestnuts in this Chinese pumpkin soup. Both are very flavorful but they taste very different, so the preparation for both is described in the recipe. You can choose whichever you prefer.

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