Q. Many of my memorable holiday recipes are made with pumpkin. I love it! The recipe I want to add to my collection is Spiced Pumpkin Bisque from the Woodstock Inn & Resort in Woodstock, Vt.

- Peg Morrow, Knoxville, Tenn.

A. The landmark Woodstock Inn & Resort, situated in the Green Mountains near the center of Vermont, is deeply rooted in the state's history. King George III granted 60 town charters for the region in 1761, but dense forests and bottomlands of evergreen swamps delayed settlement of the area that even the Indians abandoned as a hostile wilderness. Settlers and squatters finally tamed the land in 1765, and Captain Israel Richardson built what became known as Richardson's Tavern. Although the property changed hands many times, the Woodstock Inn now occupies the site.

"Whether it's cabin fever, kids or work, a lot of our guests decide that they need to get away," remarks Tom List, Inn Manager at the Woodstock Inn & Resort. "They don't care what the weather is like, because they just want some peace and quiet and a chance to unwind."

The relaxed ambiance of the grand, sprawling Woodstock Inn & Resort, a destination resort where luxurious accommodations and award-winning cuisine go hand in hand, encourages serenity. One of chef Thomas Guay's aromatically appealing creations is a flavorful Spiced Pumpkin and Walnut Bisque. The mellow flavor of pumpkin enhances traditional recipes such as pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, but additional options are there for the imaginative cook. Giving full rein to creative cooking by throwing in a pumpkin flavor can be fun - and quite tasty.


1 cup butter

1 15-ounce can solid pack, natural pumpkin (no spices) or 1 whole, fresh pumpkin

2 cups flour

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 quarts chicken stock

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (more to taste)

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (more to taste)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add pumpkin and saute lightly (Unseasoned, unsweetened canned pumpkin will work as well as fresh pumpkin puree, but if you have the time and inclination, prepare the bisque using one whole, fresh pumpkin - quartered, seeded, brushed lightly with olive oil, and roasted in a preheated 350-degree oven until tender. Peel skin from cooled pumpkin). Reduce heat to low, add flour and cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly. (Don't let mixture get too thick before adding chicken stock). Add bay leaves and chicken stock. Continue simmering 20 to 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Puree in blender or whisk to remove any lumps. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Garnish with walnuts. Yields about 2 quarts.