An Education in Food | Cinderella Pumpkin Soup & Chili Lime Poached Pear Salad

Welcome to Day Two of Four in this weeks’s “An Education in Food | De-Mystifying Fancy Food Terminology.” In case you missed yesterday’s post, I recentely attended a winemaker’s dinner at Hotel 1000. It was a delicious, five-course meal stuffed full of flavor and innovation… and a bunch of words I only kind of understood.

I’m taking time this week to break down things like the difference between tartare and ceviche, whether Cinderella pumpkins are real vegetables or simply Disney icons, and why some places serve sorbet in between courses.

Today’s deep dive is into the soup and salad part of the meal. Enjoy!

Chili Lime Poached Pear Salad

little gem lettuce, citrus vinaigrette, toasted walnuts
paired with: Upland Estates 2008 Gewürztraminer

chili lime poached pear salad

This. was. so. good.

SO GOOD. The lettuce was crunchy and flavorful, the dressing was sweet and perfect, and that pear. Is it not pear season around the Pacific Northwest, or what?

Ok, so let’s break this down. Quickly, poaching is a cooking method in which your meat, poultry, fruit, fish, or eggs are submerged in water (or chicken broth or wine).

Moving on. What is Little Gem Lettuce (other than my new favorite kind of lettuce)?

It’s a lot of what it looks like. It’s a small-leaf lettuce that’s often described as combination of butter lettuce and Romaine. The texture is crisp and crunchy like Romaine, and the flavor is lightly sweet, like butter lettuce. Now, imagine that flavor and texture with a lightly sweet (chili lime) dressing, and a soft and tender poached pear on top.

Yes. Delicious, indeed.

Cinderella Pumpkin Soup

Pork Belly Gougere
paired with: Upland Estates 2008 Teunis (pronounced “Toy-ness”)

cinderella pumpkin soup

Don’t you just love the World Wide Web? I do. I’m learning a lot of these terms for all of us here simply by doing a quick little Google search and seeing what kind of resources pop up. I do have to say that searching for “Cinderella Pumpkin” has been the most fun so far, because, as you might imagine, most of the images that show up are from the Disney classic.

Anyway, a Cinderella Pumpkin is a unique French heirloom pumpkin whose shape resembles that of the pumpkin that turned into a carriage for our fairy tale heroine. According to All About Pumpkins, this particular variety of pumpkin was the one harvested by the Pilgrims and served at the second Thanksgiving.

This was my favorite, favorite dish of the night so I recently tried to recreate it myself. However, I haven’t had a chance to hit the farmers’ markets recently, so I used Sugar (Pie) Pumpkins instead. Yes, the soup is awesome, but I will absolutely be trying another rendition of it when I can get my hands on my own Cinderella Pumpkins. Living up to its fairy tale name, this soup was just magic.

Ok, now…

What is a [pork belly] gougére?

Well, pork belly’s the easy part, and we can tell by looking at it that it’s some sort of… biscuit.

Specifically, yes, that’s just about right. A gougére is a baked savory choux pastry made of choux dough mixed with cheese such as Gruyére, Comté, or Emmentaler (source: Wikipedia).

If you’re a soup and sandwich dipper like I am, that light and fluffy “biscuit” and the magical pumpkin soup were a killer pairing.

What’s next?

Tomorrow’s post discusses braising, cow tails, and demi-glazes. You don’t want to miss that. Especially the cow tail part.


Doniree is based in Portland, Oregon, where she is pretty damn thrilled about the Pacific Northwest's focus on local and seasonal food and great wine. When she's not at home, she's on the hunt for the best brunch, the best happy hour, and the best whiskey bar a city has to offer.

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3 thoughts on “An Education in Food | Cinderella Pumpkin Soup & Chili Lime Poached Pear Salad

  1. Pingback: An Education in Food | Entrements and Dessert

  2. Pingback: Food Education | Braising, Oxtail, Sugo, Chanterelles, & Lacinato Kale

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