I think we all know that eating fall squash is a requirement in October and November. And it is a wonderful thing. I have made this particular recipe several times over the past several falls and what I love about it is, first, it is so easy. Second, I love the relish. I have a weakness for soup toppings. It has gotten to the point where every time I make a soup, I search long and hard for a garnish or topping.
The relish is everything the soup is not. It is spicy and tangy and sweet. The soup is creamy and has a subtle sweetness, but is mostly savory. It has a deep flavor because of the chicken stock and fresh thyme (I always use fresh thyme in place of the poultry seasoning/ground thyme). The other thing I change is I don't usually use the two cups of heavy cream. I probably put less than a cup of half and half. But, I never do the same thing and it is delicious every time. Even though I love fat, I don't love really thick and creamy soups. I am more of a broth girl.
To pull an Ina on you, this soup is even more delicious when you use homemade stock and freshly roasted pumpkin. Duh. But it does make quite a difference. However, don't be ashamed to pull out a few cans and make this for a quick week night dinner. I have been out of homemade stock for a long time and it doesn't stop me. Speaking of which, I need to stock up on that for Thanksgiving.
Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish
recipe courtesy Rachael Ray via Food Network
For the soup:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 fresh bay leaf
2 ribs celery with greens, finely chopped (save time and purchase celery already
washed, trimmed and cut into sticks, this makes chopping fast work)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or 2 teaspoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste
6 cups chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can cooked pumpkin puree
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For the relish:
1 crisp apple, such as McIntosh or Granny Smith, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and melt the butter. Add bay, celery, and onion. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender. Add flour, poultry seasoning and hot sauce, to taste, then cook flour a minute. Whisk in chicken stock and bring liquid to a bubble. Whisk in pumpkin in large spoonfuls to incorporate it into the broth. Simmer soup 10 minutes to thicken a bit then add in cream and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
While soup cooks, assemble the relish: combine apple, onion, lemon juice, cranberries, chili powder, honey and cinnamon.
Adjust seasonings in soup and relish and serve soup in shallow bowls with a few spoonfuls of relish.
(Servings: 4-8, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)
Shanon (taste): 7/10
Scot (taste): 9/10
Dishwashing Effort: 2/5