Roasted Pumpkin & Apple Soup

This light soup is sweet, tart, and buttery. It’s perfect with a melted cheese sandwich on a cool fall day, and not so labor-intensive that those ever-increasing cold-weather lazy feelings will keep you from getting up and making it.

Adapted from The Kitchen Garden Cookbook

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium pumpkin (should yield about 4 cups)
2 apples, preferably tart, peeled and coarsely chopped
5 cups cold white or brown stock (best with vegetable or chicken)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Chef knife
Cutting board
Vegetable peeler
Sheet tray
Large stock pot
Wooden spoon
Immersion or standing blender, or food processor
Optional: Chinois

Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Start by halving the pumpkin and scooping out the seeds, then rub oil all over the cleaned halves and place them, cut side down, on a sheet tray. Roast in the oven until the skin is tender and easy to tear and the flesh is just mush, 20-50 minutes, then let cool.

To roast the pumpkin seeds, first rinse them well of the stringy pulp that they’re naturally mixed into. To dry them, either use a hair dryer, or lay them out on a sheet tray and bake them in a 150ºF oven for 10-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Toss the dried seeds in oil, salt, and pepper, then spread them evenly on a sheet tray and bake in a 300ºF oven until golden and crispy, again for 10-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, we were talking about soup! Peel and chop the onion and apples.

While the roasted pumpkin is cooling, melt the butter in the large stock pot over low heat. Add the onions to it and cook to translucent, about 5 minutes.

Next, add the apples and cook another 5-8 minutes, until tender.

Scoop the roasted pumpkin out of its skin and add it to the pot, along with the stock. Stir well, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Let the soup cool a little before you puree it with whatever device you have (another reason why I love my immersion blender).

I chose to strain my soup through a chinois at this point. I believe there is a spectrum with pureed soups that goes from brothy to baby food. I was going for thick-enough-to-be-a-good-sandwich-dipping-soup but thin-enough-to-be-soup-on-its-own, but I’m sure that doesn’t help. Anyway, you may adjust the amount of stock to make a thicker or thinner soup, as you wish.

Speaking of sandwiches, this soup is a little on the sweeter side, so I prefer lean and spicy sandwich fillings. Raw bell peppers sliced thin, seasoned and dressed in lemon and olive oil and herbs, melted into pepper jack cheese with a little bit of crispy chorizo, all on sourdough, for example. Dip that into this soup with a dallop of sour cream or yogurt and you have a really great little cold weather lunch!

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