When fall descends on Chicago, there’s one ingredient that just about everyone gets excited about: pumpkin. And restaurants around Chicago know it. From cocktails to desserts (and everything in between), chefs and mixologists around the city have their own special recipe when it comes to everyone’s favorite fall ingredient. Replicate some of the best pumpkin dishes at home with these professional recipes.
720 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60654
The Boarding House in River North may be known for its American cuisine and wine pairings, but don’t overlook the pastry menu, which is helmed by Pasty Chef Julia Fitting. After baking and creating delicious desserts throughout Chicago, and graduating The French Pastry School, she was named as one of “Four Pastry Chefs to Watch in 2013” by Time Out Chicago. Here, she shares her pumpkin cremeux recipe. As she describes it, “it’s basically pudding. It seems fancy, but it’s really simple and tasty!”
- 2 1/2 cups cream
- 13 oz pumpkin puree
- Pinch of salt
- 8 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 gelatin sheets (if using powdered gelatin, use 1.5 packets; generally one packet is equal to 3.5 sheets leaf gelatin)
- Hydrate the gelatin, and then set aside.
- Next, heat the cream with the pumpkin puree, and salt, until the mixture comes to a boil
- Temper the mixture in the yolks and sugar.
- Heat this mixture until it’s thickened (so that it coats a spoon0, remove from the heat, and add the gelatin
- Strain and let the cremeux set in a container in a fridge. You can also cast in a jar or glass, and garnish the cremeux before serving. Either way, it should be ready in about 2-3 hours.
Fitting prefers to cast on top of a stout cake, and garnish the cremeux with caramelized apples and caramel corn, but another delicious topping could be Nilla wafers and whipped cream.
464 N. Halsted Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
Piccolo Sogno means “little dream,” and that’s exactly what it is for Chef Tony Priolo and his partner Ciro Longobardo. Started in 2008, after years of working in other Italian restaurants, Piccolo Sogno is all about the very best of Italian food, made with locally-sourced ingredients. Chef Priolo’s cooking philosophy, as well as his recipes, are highly influenced by his Sicilian grandmother, whom he learned from in her Chicago kitchen.
- 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 ribs of celery, diced
- 2 cups roasted pumpkin
- 1 sprig rosemary (optional)
- 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 8 cups chicken broth
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- In a medium-sized stock pot, heat the olive oil. Then add the rosemary, diced carrots, celery, and onion and cook until soft.
- Season the vegetables with sea salt and pepper, as well as the spices.
- Add the pumpkin and chicken broth, and bring the mixture to a broil.
- Turn it down to a simmer, and the add to the vanilla extract. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Add the butter, and puree the soup until smooth.
- Serve. (You may also garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds)
Adamus at Silversmith Hotel
10 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
Combining creative cuisine with unique cocktails, a meal at Adamus at Silversmith Hotel downtown is an experience. The menu here is helmed and created by Chef Nelson Erazo, who first established himself in the Florida hospitality scene. His pumpkin bisque recipe is just one testament to how he uses seasonal ingredients in his cuisine.
- 1 small pumpkin, halved with seeds scraped out
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups apple cider
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 pint vegetable broth
- 4 oz maple syrup
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Toss the pumpkin, thyme, apple cider, olive oil and brown sugar into a large bowl.
- Place the pumpkin cavity side down on a cookie sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
- When the pumpkin is done roasting, in a large sauce pot, sautee the onions with the celery and leeks for about 15 minutes (until caramelized)
- While sauteeing the vegetables, scoop the pumpkin out of the skin.
- To the vegetable mixture, add the garlic and shallots and cook for three minutes. Next, add in the roasted pumpkin to the vegetables and cook for five minutes.
- Add in the chicken stock and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Blend all the ingredients and strain through a fine strainer.
- Return to a large pot, and add to the mixture the heavy cream, mascarpone, and maple syrup. Check the seasons and adjust for the desired consistency. Enjoy!
Related: Best Pumpkin Dishes In Chicago
Lush Wine & Spirits
2232 W. Roscoe St.
Chicago, IL 60618
Sip on wine and cocktails while enjoying a gourmet bite or two at Lush Wine & Spirits two locations in Chicago. These concept isn’t the first for owner Mitch Einhorn, who has developed a number of restaurants and dining experiences — he’s been the brains behind Twisted Spoke, Bone Daddy and Pie Hole Pizza, to name a few. When not busy starting a new restaurant, or dabbling in brewing with Nomad Brewing, he’s coming up with delicious cocktails like these.
(served in a clear coffee mug)
- 1.5 oz Leopold NY Apple Whiskey
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 scrape nutmeg
- 1 piece star anise
- 1 chai spice hot tea bag
- 1 barspoon pumpkin puree*
- Make the pumpkin puree by taking one small pumpkin (cut in half with seeds removed), lay flesh side down, and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Then remove the pumpkin flesh, and put in the food processor; blend until smooth.
- Heat all the liquids together in a saucepan over low heat. Then, add all the other ingredients, stirring constantly. Keep the flame low and right before it boils, remove it from the heat, and add the teabag.
- Pour into a glass coffee mug, and garnish with an orange twist.
Mr. Brown’s Lounge
2301 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
Mr. Brown’s Lounge, located in both West Town and the Loop, is all about hot and spicy Jamaican dishes. Even the restaurant vibe is distinctly Jamaican, with a twist. The original location was opened in 2009 by Executive Chef Christ Douglas in partnership with his brother Terry and sister-in-law Carrie. While Jamaican in look and feel, even this restaurant knows how to offer a seasonal treat.
- 1 lb pumpkin seeds
- 4 oz melted butter
Jerk Seasoning Ingredients
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 to 3 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Toss the pumpkin seeds with melted butter and jerk seasoning.
- Once the seeds are nicely coated, spread them on a baking sheet, making sure they’re evenly spread out and not piled on top of each other.
- Cook the seed until they’re golden brown, around 8-15 minutes, depending on the size of the seed.
Related: Best Pumpkin Treats In Chicago