1 beautiful 8-lb. pumpkin (about 14" diameter) with a nice stem or “handle”
5 tbsp. butter
2 15-oz. cans pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 cups leeks, chopped (white and pale-green parts only)
3/4 cups onion, chopped
3/4 tsp. salt
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3 tsp. curry powder (or to taste)
1 tbsp. fresh minced ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cayenne
6-1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup apple cider
pinch of sugar
fresh chives, chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
To prepare the pumpkin tureen, slice off the upper one-quarter to one-third of the pumpkin to make a lid (as you would to prepare a Jack-O’-Lantern). Set lid aside.
Using a metal spoon, scoop out all the seeds and any stringy bits from the interior and discard. Pour in several cups of boiling water and swirl around to clean the “tureen.” Drain, wipe dry and set aside.*
To prepare soup, melt butter in a heavy 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and onion and sauté until onions are softened, about 15 minutes. Mix in apples, pumpkin, sugar and spices. Add stock and cider and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Purée soup in pan with immersion blender (or working in batches, purée soup in blender). This can be made up to 2 days ahead.
Whip cream and nutmeg to a soft peak. Bring soup to simmer. Ladle soup into pumpkin, top with chives and cover with lid to take to the table. Put a bowl of the nutmeg whipped cream on the side for guests to dollop on their soup.
*If you’re serving this on a buffet, it’s a good idea to heat the pumpkin shell in a 200° F oven for 10 to 15 minutes before adding soup. The heated shell will act as a chafing dish.