Eight-Ingredient Soup Shot for Fall Entertaining
Lead Chef-Instructor Philipp Hering shares a seasonal recipe from his special events menu.
The Institute of Culinary Education hosts more than 500 special events a year at our New York campus in Brookfield Place. The department’s lead chef-instructor, Philipp Hering, develops a new hands-on menu every season for these cooking parties, corporate gatherings, birthdays and anniversaries, and team-building exercises.
Chef Phil started planning the fall menu in late July by testing recipes, planning logistics and estimating costs. He draws inspiration from auditing career classes and evaluating feedback from previous events, with simplicity and deliciousness in mind.
In summer, the special events kitchen experiments with imaginative and ambitious ideas that Chef Phil refines for the fall menu. “When something is a crowd favorite and people gravitate towards it, we use it on the next menu,” he says. “You have to think about the people coming in here and tone it down for a hands-on event.”
After all, part of the fun of events at ICE is participation. “I throw parties here,” says Chef Phil. “New York City has every kind of restaurant for a group, but here, you’re having fun making a dish. People think there’s pressure, but we do all the prep — you have a cocktail hour and the fun part of cooking.”
Here’s what Chef Phil’s excited about on the fall menu:
- Chicken Under a Brick: “It’s a crowd favorite. It was grilled a couple of seasons ago and this one is pan seared so there’s a really crispy skin.”
- Apple Cinnamon Hand Pies: “These are a spin on this summer’s blueberry version, which people love because it’s simple and homemade.”
- NY Strip Steak with Sweet and Spicy Pepperonata and Twice-Fried Fries: “because people love steak and fries.”
- Pan Roasted Chicken Breast with Mole Poblano Sauce and Brussels Sprouts Elote: “I’m very excited about this one. Guests started to discover our mole poblano at the end of the last season and thought it was delicious, and the Brussels sprouts are my fall version of elote, which is usually corn.”
- Potato Croquettes: “These hors d’oeurves were my first idea of making stuffed tater tots, because who doesn’t like tater tots?”
The perfect recipe to try at home is a pumpkin soup shot that’s part of the passed hors d’oeuvres selection. “The soup is very creamy, but surprisingly light,” says Chef Phil. “When you think of winter soups, you think heavy and filling, but it’s a light shot that gets a pancetta skewer for a little added saltiness.”
Roasted Pumpkin Soup Shot with Toasted Pepitas and Pancetta Skewer
Yields 20, 1.5 ounce shots
- 2 pound pumpkin, peeled and cut into rough large dices (can be substituted with equal parts unsweetened puree)
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ pound pancetta, cut into thick strips or cubes
- 1 cup salted pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Toss pumpkin cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until tender, about 1 hour. Remove and set aside.
- While pumpkin is cooking, place a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil to the pan, and sweat out the onions until caramelized.
- Add vegetable stock to the pan and simmer. Once the pumpkin is roasted, add it to the vegetable mixture.
- Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes more.
- Remove pot from heat. Adjust seasoning to taste. Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the mixture until smooth. Careful: it will be hot!
- Once mixture is smooth, slowly add the heavy cream and simmer for 10 minutes more, or until heated through.
- Ladle the soup into shot glasses. Sprinkle a few toasted pepitas onto the top, and gently place the pancetta skewer over the vessel.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Place pancetta on a baking sheet, being careful not to overlap the pieces, so they can get crispy.
- Roast until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes.
- Place the meat onto skewers.
- In a medium, dry sauce pan over medium heat, toast the pepitas until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Keep a close watch on them, as they burn quickly.
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