Stuffing a pumpkin may seem like an over-the-top serving method intended more for posting images on social media than for eating, but that couldn’t be more wrong. Though they check the popular “one-pot meal” box, soups typically require a bit of babysitting: sauté aromatics, pour in this and that at different times, stir regularly. Pumpkin soup baked in a pumpkin is almost entirely hands-off after the pulp and seeds are scraped out and the raw ingredients dumped in. With ample oven space, it becomes one of the easiest show-stopping dishes one could make for a party. Better still, when the soup is finished, there’s no stockpot to wash. Eat the baked pumpkin exterior with an additional sprinkle of salt (skin, too!) and compost the stem.
- Use 1 teaspoon neutral oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan big enough to fit the pumpkin and set aside. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- Scrub the pumpkin clean and dry it well. With your knife at a 45-degree angle, slice a lid into the top of the pumpkin about 4 inches in diameter. Trim any stringy bits from the lid and set aside. Scoop out seeds and pulp from inside the pumpkin. As best you can, separate seeds and pulp, then transfer seeds to a fine mesh sieve to rinse off any additional pulp. Dry seeds completely on kitchen towels.
- Spread out dried seeds on the sheet pan. Toss with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (about 1 tablespoon per cup of seeds) and a big pinch of kosher salt. Bake seeds for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Set aside.
- Turn up the oven heat to 350ºF. Rub the outside of the pumpkin (including the lid) with remaining 2 teaspoons neutral oil and place it in the baking dish.
- Fill the pumpkin with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sliced garlic, and remaining ingredients. Give the mixture a stir, place the lid on the pumpkin, and bake for 45 minutes. Test pumpkin for doneness by piercing the top with a cake tester or a small paring knife. If the tester slides through with just a bit of resistance, remove pumpkin from oven. If it's still very firm, bake for an additional 20-45 minutes, testing every 15 minutes or so (this will depend on the size and variety of the pumpkin; if you plan to double the recipe and size of the pumpkin, plan to roughly double baking time as well).
- Take off the lid with a pot holder. Let cool for 10 minutes, then carefully scoop some pumpkin flesh from the interior sides and underside of lid into the soup.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.
- Ladle soup into bowls, then top with toasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Toast remaining French bread, rubbing each warm slice with reserved clove of raw garlic, and serve. When the soup is gone, eat remaining pumpkin flesh on top of more toast with a bit of salt.
Rebecca Firkser is a New York City-based food writer and cook. Most recently the Culinary Editor at Extra Crispy, Rebecca’s byline has appeared in number of publications, among them Food52, Tasting Table, and Healthyish by Bon Appetit.