“Fall is my favorite time of year,” revealed Peter Susca, executive chef at Cary’s upscale Bistro 64 during a recent exclusive conversation with Cary Magazine. “I love the beautiful weather, but also the amazing fresh products that North Carolina has to offer.”
Susca, who hails from Erie, Pa., and received his chef’s training at the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., explained that he is committed to using only the freshest local ingredients available for all his dishes.
“Very few restaurants in this town are completely made from scratch, but we are,” he said. “You want bacon? I cure bellies for three days and smoke them for a full eight hours, Mayo? I use raw eggs, oil and mustard. We also make our bread daily. We’re all about giving people the ultimate dining experience.”
Among the eclectic standout items that feature seasonal ingredients is the restaurant’s exquisite roasted pumpkin soup. Susca insisted that fresh ingredients are a must, including the pumpkin (“canned is not preferred,” he said). Like all his creations, the soup is presented with artful precision and perfect execution.
“Since the pumpkin has an inherent sweetness, we use Grade A foie gras from Hudson Valley to bring some depth to the soup,” said Susca. “If people want to make the soup and find that foie gras is too expensive, they can always substitute duck, chicken liver or butter.”
Whether you make the soup at home or enjoy it at Bistro 64, you’re sure to savor one of the most distinctive tastes of autumn. Enjoy!
Roasted Pumpkin Soup Recipe
2 2 1/2-pound roaster pumpkins (roasted, cleaned and puréed)
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup onions
1 1/2 ounces foie gras (can substitute duck, chicken livers or butter)
2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup marsala wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 sticks butter (cubed into 2 tablespoon portions)
1 tablespoon honey
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
In a three-quart pot, heat two tablespoons of butter until it starts to brown, sear off foie gras. Add vegetables and sweat down. Deglaze the pot with marsala wine. Add chicken stock and pumpkin purée.
Reduce to medium low heat for 30–45 minutes or until 1/4–1/2 reduced. Remove from heat.
With an immersion (hand-held) blender on high, slowly add heavy cream and remainder of butter until smooth. Strain soup through a sieve to remove all fibrous matter and push through with the back of a ladle. Once finished removing pulp, add cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. Salt and pepper to taste.
To serve: Ladle 6–8 ounces of soup into a bowl and top with dollop of mascarpone cheese and brown sugar. Optional garnish: chipotle bacon chips and fresh scallions.
103 Edinburgh South Drive
MacGregor Village Shopping Center, Cary