pumpkin soup with gruyère

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, even though it’s October, my favorite month of the year. My trip to the Napa Valley last weekend helped snap me out of it for those several days, but I can feel that blah feeling coming back on already. It may have something to do with the fact that I’m about to be sequestered away at work for a couple of weeks, living on cafeteria food for lunch and – more likely than not – dinner. Or maybe it’s just because everyday life has gotten hectic. Those of you with kids in school and busy jobs and sick family members and the occasional family crisis know what I’m talking about.

When I start feeling this way, with good case of the Blahs, I crave comfort foods. I skipped a Gator football game a couple of weekends ago to stay home and make soup. That’s right. I stayed home and missed a game – homecoming, even – to make soup.

And it felt great.

As it turned out, I had the entire late afternoon and evening to myself. The kids were off with my sister-in-law, having a sleepover with their cousins, and my husband was at the football game with some friends.

That afternoon of solitude and slicing and chopping and stirring and sticky, slimy pumpkin innards was exactly what I needed.

I remembered something that day two weeks ago when I made pumpkin soup. I always think it’s the comfort food that I crave when I get the blues, but really, it’s the cooking. It’s the process.

That Saturday afternoon, as I picked up my chef’s knife and steadied the pumpkin on the cutting board, I felt the heaviness I’d been carrying begin to lift off my shoulders. I didn’t even really want the soup at that point. I just wanted to make it.


Pumpkin Soup with Gruyère

Adapted from this recipe from Fine Cooking. Serves 4 as main course, 6 as an appetizer. Note: This recipe calls for 6 cups of diced pumpkin. I was able to get this amount from two large grapefruit-sized pie pumpkins.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
6 cups 1-inch diced peeled, seeded pumpkin
1 small sweet potato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 medium fresh sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
4 to 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup packed grated Gruyère, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

Melt the butter in a heavy duty 4- to 5-quart pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and sweet potato and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add the wine and sage leaves and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until the wine evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of broth, cover, and simmer, adjusting the heat as needed, until the pumpkin and sweet potato are very tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup of Gruyère and stir to incorporate. Using a handheld or standard blender, purée the soup (in batches if necessary). Season to taste with salt and pepper [Note: I needed to add about 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt for my seasoning preference.].

Return to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly and adding more broth as necessary to achieve a thin soup with the consistency of heavy cream. Serve warm. Garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg and a hefty grating of Gruyère.

To make ahead: The soup can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate; reheat to serve.

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27 Responses to “pumpkin soup with gruyère”

  1. HeatherChristo — October 28, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

    this looks so good! beautiful pictures 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

      Thank you, Heather.

  2. Liz the Chef — October 28, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

    You are so brave! I have yet to tackle a “real” pumpkin…Your photos are lovely. Where did you learn to take such great shots? I need a class for certain.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

      This was actually my first go at a real pumpkin – and it was fun! As for the photos – I’ve been learning as I go. I’ve never taken a course, but I’d love to!

  3. kateiscooking — October 28, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

    Beautiful photos! I hope I escape work in time to make this tonight. We’re supposed to have the first freeze of the year and this sounds like a perfect antidote!! Kate@kateiscooking

  4. Kare — October 28, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    Man, there is nothing like the process of cooking and baking to just put you into that near-nirvana-like zone, eh? I LOVE that. And this soup looks scrumptious – I love a good pumpkin soup, and love the idea of the gruyere (and the hearty splash of white wine).

    Good luck on your two-week work project – ugh, I’d be feeling the blahs too. Hope it goes by quickly for you.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

      Kare – Ah, yes – you noticed the wine. Wine and gruyere – what could be better?

  5. bunkycooks — October 28, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

    I am feeling the funk, too. I think it is the coming of cold weather combined with personal/work stuff. Cooking does make things better and gets the other stuff off your mind.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

      Gwen – Cooking is such a blessing. I’m just hoping to squeeze in some time for it in the upcoming weeks. I think I’m going to need it.

  6. Kristina @ spabettie — October 28, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

    I know exactly what you mean… I get to feeling antsy or upset or frustrated… and I want to be in the kitchen… kneading or chopping or stirring… creating.

    gruyere is one of my favorites… and this looks so good…

    I also love your photos – the sage leaves especially… so pretty!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

      Kristina – I just love gruyere too. In fact, it was all I could do to stop myself from eating the wedge of cheese before it went in the soup. 🙂

  7. Susi — October 28, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

    That looks like a wonderful and comforting bowl of soup! Love the addition of gruyere (one of my favorites) and your pictures are spectacular!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

      Susi – Thank you so much for the photography compliment. I was playing with a new lens (my birthday present), so these photos were a lot of fun for me.

  8. Jennie — October 28, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

    What you said about wanting to make the soup more than wanting to eat it—that’s what I love most about being in the kitchen. The one place where you can control the chaos swirling around. I totally get your October funk, but think about November, right around the corner, and all the fun that follows.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

      Controlling the chaos is the key. Being in the kitchen, controlling that ingredient in my hand or in the pot – that is the key for me. And I cannot even begin to describe the excitement I have about November. Well, after November 16th, that is. Until then, it’s nothing but hospital for me.

  9. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — October 28, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

    Great post! I know exactly what you mean about craving the cooking process. Sometimes just getting out my big wooden cutting board and chopping some veggies starts to melt away my stress.

    Love this soup, too… Pumpkin and gruyere sounds like a perfect combo.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

      Jen – Yes! Chopping board and knife, and the stresses of the day melt away. I just wish I had more time for it. And anything with gruyere is fabulous. 🙂

  10. Kim - Liv Life — October 28, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

    I DO know what you mean!! I actually skipped our homecoming game too, though I didn’t cook at thing. The soup looks wonderful. Hang in there!

  11. Liren — October 29, 2010 @ 2:38 am

    “I just wanted to make it.”

    Boy, do I understand what you mean. However, I’m sure it tasted lovely – pumpkin and gruyere make sense together! In our family chaos, we haven’t been to the pumpkin patch yet, but if we make it this weekend, I would love to tackle this soup.

  12. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle — October 29, 2010 @ 10:35 am

    I can certainly identify with your state of mind. Eight months into an injury that has limited most aspects of my life; long work days and dealing with a difficult daughter…sometimes the kitchen is my refuge from all of it…even if I’m not hungry!

    Something about soup is so soul satisfying…the results of your efforts look beautiful and sound perfect for that.

  13. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — October 30, 2010 @ 7:37 am

    MJ I absolutely can relate to this post. Sometimes when I have SO MUCH on my plate that I don’t know where to start, I find myself in the kitchen making something that, you know, could wait. Cooking and baking are exactly the release we need from time to time and if it results in this type of delicious soup, well it’s totally worth missing a game for, right?

  14. Renee (Kudos Kitchen) — October 30, 2010 @ 12:34 pm

    This soup looks great and I totally LOVE the gruyere and pumpkin combo. Don’t you just love that soup is comforting to eat AND make? Sounds like you had a wonderful afternoon in the kitchen!

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  16. Jennifer — October 30, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

    This sounds awesome. It’s been cold and rainy here and would be perfect. I have those blah days and there’s absolutely nothing better than comfort food.

  17. Belinda — October 30, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

    We had a blast with your kids and can’t wait to have them again in November. So glad you had a quiet afternoon and evening to do something fun and relaxing for yourself!

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