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  • Pumpkins at Burt's Farm

    Pumpkins at Burt's Farm in Dawsonville

Looking for the perfect pumpkins for Halloween and fall festivities? Plan a fall outing in Georgia, and you’ll find them just off the beaten path.

Pick

Pick your own pumpkin at Burt’s Farm in Dawsonville, where you can also take a hay ride through the pumpkin patch. Or, try to find your way through a giant corn maze at Washington Farms in Watkinsville before choosing that perfect pumpkin to take home with you.

Drink

All of that outdoor fun is bound to make you thirsty, so swing by Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens for a tour of their brewery and a tall, frosty glass of their seasonal Pumpkinfest Beer.

Eat

Turn that pumpkin into a rich and delicious pot of Winter Pumpkin Soup with Parmesan Croutons and Hickory Bacon Chips (recipe below). With a little help from farmers markets like Sweet Auburn Curb Market in Atlanta, Atlanta State Farmer’s Market in Forest Park and Jaemor Farms in Alto, you’ll find the local Georgia ingredients you need.


Winter Pumpkin Soup with Parmesan Croutons and Hickory Smoked Bacon Chips
Winter Pumpkin Soup with Parmesan Croutons and Hickory Smoked Bacon Chips

Winter Pumpkin Soup with Parmesan Croutons and Hickory Smoked Bacon Chips

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups roasted pumpkin, mashed

2 ½ cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ medium white onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup heavy cream

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Hickory Smoked Bacon Chips:
6 slices of hickory smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch strips

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons olive oil

Parmesan Croutons:
2 cups stale bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

¼ cup grated Parmesan

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Hickory Smoked Bacon Chips:
1. Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

2. Place bacon in pot and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add the sprigs of rosemary to the pot and cook an additional 4-5 minutes or until the bacon is golden and crispy and rosemary leaves are lightly browned.

3. Set aside on a paper towel until cooled.

4. Remove the rosemary leaves from the stems. Then roughly chop the leaves, discard stems.

Winter Pumpkin Soup:
5. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from stock pot.

6. Add butter, garlic and onion, and sweat until translucent, stirring to loosen any browned bits from bottom of the pan.

7. Add mashed pumpkin and chicken stock, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

8. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cook for 15-20 minutes.

9. Add heavy cream, and stir to combine.

Parmesan Croutons:

10. Preheat oven to 400 F.

11. In a large bowl, combine bread, olive oil, cheese, chili flakes and black pepper.

12. Spread onto a sheet pan and bake for 5-6 minutes, or until bread cubes are golden brown.

13. Serve soup in warm bowls topped with croutons, bacon chips and chopped rosemary.

From Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent by Jennifer Hill Booker, © 2014 Jennifer Hill Booker, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

 

Jennifer Hill Booker

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker is a Georgia Grown Executive Chef, Atlanta based cookbook author, and culinary educator, and believes that “food should taste like food.” Jennifer has spent her 20-year culinary career educating people about food, nutrition, and healthy cooking practices. Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

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