Steven Redzikowski's Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon-Spiced Marshmallow

Steven Redzikowski’s Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon-Spiced Marshmallow

As the chef-owner of Denver’s new Acorn restaurant, as well as OAK at Fourteenth in Boulder, CO, Steven Redzikowski contends with some cold days. “Soup should always be one of, if not the, most seasonal things on the menu,” he says. “And it’s certainly something we turn to as soon as autumn hits and we want more warmth from our meals.”

Seasonal in autumn, of course, means winter squash and root vegetables, and so this season Redzikowski was quick to put his roasted pumpkin soup on his OAK menu. “People go bananas for it,” he says. “And we’ll use it at Acorn, but most likely as a sauce, because Acorn is more of a shared-plate restaurant, and in my opinion, soup isn’t the most terribly natural thing to share.”

What makes people crazy for Redzikowski’s pumpkin soup is its blend of savory and sweet. “When people cook a butternut squash soup or sweet potatoes, they’ll often use a little brown sugar,” he says. “We like to use our homemade marshmallow with pumpkin.” The soup stock (parsnip-based), which he makes after wood-firing herbs and roasted vegetables as well as pumpkin, is super smooth. “We blend the heck out of it,” he says. “Then we pour it, table-side, over a heated bowl that already contains smoky, blow-torched pieces of spiced marshmallow. When the soup hits the marshmallow, the sticky candy melts, and it creates a really nice sweet note without overpowering the nutty, earthiness of the pumpkin.”

Redzikowski’s tip for finding pumpkins is easy: They should be in most seasonal grocery stores come fall (yes, you can buy your marshmallows in a bag). And don’t worry about organic squash – you just want to find a pumpkin that hasn’t been sitting on its side for a while and/or looks a little flat or brown on one side. “It’s pretty easy to roast pumpkin,” Redzikowski says. “I won’t say you can’t overcook them, but it’s hard, and to find out if it’s done, I just stick a pairing knife into its thickest portion and make sure I can remove it without resistance. You want the flesh, like many a comforting cold-weather dish, to be super-tender.”

Roasted Pumpkin Soup (yields four servings)

• 2 pumpkin cut in half, seeds removed peeled
• 1 parsnips (peeled and sliced thin)
• 1 1/2 Carrots (peeled and sliced thin)
• 1 1/2 head celery root (peeled and sliced thin)
• 1/4 head celery sliced thin
• 1/4 pint olive oil

Step One
Place all vegetables into a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 350 degree oven until vegetables are tender (continue to stir the veggies while roasting every 15 minutes being careful not to char veggies).

Step Two
Once vegetables are tender place in a large stockpot and cover with parsnip stock (recipe below). Simmer for 20 minutes.

Step Three
Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust with salt.

Parsnip Stock

6 each parsnips
• 1 gallons water

Step One
Simmer until the parsnips are tender.

Step Two
Strain the liquid through a fine strainer and reserve.

Marshmallows (in grams because it has to be exact)

390 Grams sugar
• 15 Grams Corn Syrup
• 335 Grams Water
• 12 Each Sheets Gelatin
• 14 Grams Vanilla extract
• 65 Grams Egg Whites
• 70 Grams Confectionery sugar
• 70 Grams Corn Starch
• 5 Grams Ground Cinnamon
• 2 Grams Ground Allspice
• 2 Grams Ground Nutmeg
• 525 Grams Sage (Chopped Fine)

Step One
In a medium saucepan combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, 3/4 of the water and cook to 260 degrees.

Step Two
In another sauce pot combine spices, sage, vanilla and bloomed gelatin and allow to steep over low heat.

Step Three
Bloom gelatin in cold water and reserve for later use.

Step Four
While sugar syrup is heating place egg whites in a Hobart or Kitchenaid mixer and with the whisk attachment; whisk until whites are doubled in size. Drizzle in the spice mix and gelatin sheets.

Step Five
While mixer is running, drizzle in the hot syrup and whisk for 7 to 10 minutes until fluffy but not set. Quickly pour into a greased terrine mold or Tupperware that has been dusted with corn starch so the marshmallows will release out of the pan.

Step Six
Once the marshmallows have set remove from the terrine mold or Tupperware and cut into 2″X 2″ squares. Reserve the squares.

Step Seven
Brulee (or fire) 1 marshmallow square with a blow torch and reserve.

Step Eight
Pour 8 oz of the hot soup into a soup bowl and garnish with the bruleed marshmallow and a piece of fried sage.