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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22 Responses to “savory spinach, feta, and roasted red pepper muffins”

  1. RavieNomNoms — September 30, 2010 @ 8:55 am

    Those muffins are beautiful! So many great flavors, I would have to imagine that these taste amazing!

  2. Cherine — September 30, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    Love the combination of those muffins!! I bet they’re addictive!!

  3. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — September 30, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

    I love your substitution and for the very same reason you cite…where in the world are those peppers..I had thought of using sun dried tomatoes.

    Thanks so much for participating at http://www.rsvpredux.com – hoping some of your readers will join us!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 30th, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

      Barbara – I bet sun dried tomatoes would be a great substitution!

  4. Prerna@IndianSimmer — September 30, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

    Thanks to twitter for suggesting that I might like your blog, because I LOVE your blog!
    This is the first recipe that I landed onto and I’m SO digging it. OK can’t write more ‘cos I’m off to the kitchen to bake some muffins 🙂
    Thanx for sharing this recipe. I’m sure my li’l one’s gonna love it!!

  5. SMITH BITES — September 30, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

    The muffins look terrific and believe it or not, I can find peppadews in my area – which is really saying something because that just doesn’t happen. Peppadews are a sweet-hot pepper and I can see how they would pair with the other ingredients: sharpness of the feta and the earthiness of the spinach. Am glad you mentioned letting them cool to develop the flavor – great tip; beautiful muffins which I plan on making!

  6. Liz the Chef — September 30, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    A savory muffin never crossed my mind – this is a very exciting recipe. I can see little variations, depending on what’s on hand in the pantry and fridge. Thanks!

  7. Jason Phelps — September 30, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

    I love this idea. These are going to come in handy at my next dinner party.

    Thank you!

    Jason

  8. Nancy@acommunaltable — September 30, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

    These would be terrific with soup and a salad.. or split with a little chicken … or with eggs… well, I’ve done it again found ANOTHER recipe I am simply going to have to make!!!

    As for the peppedews… they do carry a jarred version at Trader Joe’s so if you have one by you or come across one, you can probably get them there! The roasted red bell peppers though are a great substitution since they are very close in texture and taste!!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 1st, 2010 @ 8:11 am

      Nancy – We don’t have a Trader Joe’s, sadly. I may look in our Fresh Market (our version of Whole Foods) to see if they carry them. I really am intrigued by them now, and I really want to try them.

  9. Brian @ A Thought For Food — October 1, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    I saw these and was dying to make them! They really would be perfect for a dinner party!

  10. Bonnie — October 1, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

    I’m so happy to have found your blog and this delicious recipe. I’m also very, very happy to find your grandmother’s recipe for chess pie. The first time I had it was at a youth church dinner. It is one of my favorites!! I look forward to further visits.

    Best,
    Bonnie

  11. Sasha — October 2, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

    Wow. These are indeed very unique muffins.

  12. GreenGirl — October 2, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    Spinach feta are a great combo, add roasted peppers and you have me hooked.
    I like to take my time in the kitchen and do almost everything from scratch, well, that’s just me 😛

  13. Chris — October 3, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

    These look great to me. I like savory muffins and these are perfect.

  14. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — October 3, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    How come I missed those ones? Huh? And how come you didn’t send one my way? I think you do delivery, right? And yes, good work on the substitution – but ow you have me wondering about those peppers too!

  15. bunkycooks — October 3, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    I love savory foods this time of year. The bigger flavors, the better! These muffins combine many of my favorites.

  16. Pingback: Savory Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Muffins « Pragmatic Attic

  17. Sara — December 31, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

    I love all of the flavors in these muffins especially feta cheese & roasted red peppers!
    Happy New Year!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 1st, 2011 @ 10:18 am

      happy new year to you, Sara!

  18. Nichole — January 11, 2011 @ 11:45 am

    Peppadews are scrumptious and worth looking for! They have a little heat balanced nicely with a sweet undertone. If your grocery store has an olive bar, try looking there. Bottled ones can usually be found near the pickled beans and asparagus, etc.

    I just don’t get the whole cupcake craze since I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I am so enamored by savory muffins. I’m on a mission to try every one of them that I can find. These are definitely going on my list.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 11th, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

      Wonderful! Let me know how you like them.

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