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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10 Responses to “talking turkey, and a casserole: turkey tetrazzini”

  1. Kathryn — November 3, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

    What a delicious way to use up some leftover turkey – they’re normally such big beasts that there’s plenty to go round and then some!

  2. Kate @ Savour Fare — November 3, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    You’ve got to do a dry brine! It’s 100% easier than a wet brine (who has a big enough vessel?, let alone refrigerator) and yields turkey that tastes like turkey, not like ham. Here’s my recipe: http://savour-fare.com/2009/11/18/a-turkey-youll-want-to-gobble-dry-brined-roast-turkey/

    And the LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/18/food/fo-calcook18

    And now I’m trying to figure out how to make turkey tetrazzini BEFORE Thanksgiving.

  3. jenn s. — November 3, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

    Steve smokes our turkey on the grill. Even people that aren’t crazy about turkey love his grilled/smoked turkey! I always buy with the intentions of having enough leftover turkey meat to make turkey tetrazinni. It has become a tradition for us (I usually make it on Sat. or Sun. after T-giving to give the bloat of Thursday’s meal time to level off, LOL!) The smokey flavor of the turkey gives the tetrazinni a unique and certainly delicious flavor.

  4. Paula — November 3, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    I haven’t been on Twitter a lot lately and I’m not sure if you sent any tweets about your Dad so reading today that he has been moved to a rehabilitation centre does sound encouraging and I hope and pray the he continues to see some improvement in his condition over the next several weeks. I know that prepping a dinner for such a large crowd can be stressful, especially if this is your first big turkey roast. I have no doubt however that your meal will be wonderful and I’m sure that everyone will be more than willing to pitch in and help. Perhaps they’ll just leave the turkey to you and they will bring all the other dishes…a big family pot luck 🙂
    Your tetrazinni looks good!

    P.S. I did see Gail’s tweet however on your Exemplary Teacher Award but never sent a congratulatory one to you. I think it’s wonderful that you received this award and can only imagine how proud you must be of it. Sincere congratulations Merry-Jennifer!

  5. Nutmeg Nanny — November 7, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

    I have never done a whole turkey either. Last year Mr. Nutmeg Nanny was getting over a cold so we had to stay home (his dad was recovering from cancer surgery.) So I ended up making roast turkey parts but not actually the whole bird. I wish I would have seen this recipe for the leftovers. I would have been all over it! I love tetrazzini!

    P.S. I hope all is going well with your dad. I’m sending lots of prayers your way.

  6. Lucy — November 15, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    So glad your dad is doing better. It’s exciting to host Thanksgiving! I’ve been hosting my husband’s family for years. Though you didn’t ask for turkey advice, I highly recommend brining the turkey (you can buy a 5 gallon stock pot at Walmart for about $45-50 that’s perfect for a 20 lb turkey) and then rubbing all over with herb butter. Both recipes on my site. And give yourself plenty of time to let the turkey rest before and after roasting. You’ll do a great job and can’t wait to hear about it!

  7. Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos — November 15, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

    Such a great idea for leftovers 🙂 Hopefully your father has a speedy recovery!

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