Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Pumpkin Squash Soup – an easy make-ahead lunch to serve on Black Friday
November seems to be month of the pumpkin. I’ve seen pumpkin in one form or another in practically every food magazine and on just about everyone’s blog. It’s been the star attraction in fall displays with scarecrows to the main ingredient in hearty soups, rich bisques, individual bread puddings with caramel pecan sauce, cute little mini cakes with rum glaze, and chess pies with praline sauce.
It’s hard to believe that next week is Thanksgiving, followed by the frantic shopping sprees that lead up to Christmas. Black Friday is upon us, when thousands of people flood the malls scooping up bargain such as cashmere sweaters on sale and fighting over the last ridiculously low priced flat panel television at the discount store the day after Thanksgiving.
When I saw this recipe in Southern Living magazine I thought it would make an excellent do-ahead soup to serve on Black Friday for a much deserved leisurely lunch after shopping or while watching a football game on television. I plan to serve it with turkey sandwiches to complete the meal. The fact that this soup had an express version that cut the hands-on time in half particularly appealed to me. Roasting a whole pumpkin and dealing with cutting up an acorn squash in the original version sounded like much more work than I wanted to tackle on the week of Thanksgiving. Even the cook deserves a day off, n’est pas?
Pumpkin Squash Soup – Express Version
Adapted from Southern Living – makes about 8 cups
I encourage you to grate your own nutmeg. It tastes so much fresher than the pre-ground stuff.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral tasting oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
4 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth (homemade if you have it)
2 - 12 oz cans pumpkin (not the pie filling)
2 - 12oz packages of frozen squash (I used butternut)
½ cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground fresh nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
All natural pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted, for garnish
Melt butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté 5 minutes or until tender, taking care that the onion doesn’t brown. Add fresh thyme and sauté 1 minute or until fragrant.
Stir in the broth along with the pumpkin and squash pulp. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool 10 minutes.
Process soup, if desired, in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return the soup to the Dutch oven and stir in the half and half, cider vinegar, ground ginger and ground nutmeg. Cook, over low heat, stirring often, 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Taste for seasonings, then and add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, garnish each serving with toasted pepitas and chopped fresh thyme leaves.
To make ahead: Store it for up to four days in the refrigerator in a container with a tight fitting lid. Bring to room temperature and gently reheat, taking care not to let it burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.