After I posted last week about ways to bring autumn inside, I got a lot of comments about soup. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to know why I hadn't said anything at all about the autumnal comfort a simmering pot of soup on the stove provides.
But what you may not have realized (though Tea smartly blew my cover on Twitter!) was that the real driving force behind this post was my attempt to create the cozy smells and sights of fall in San Francisco -- a place where there's nary a colored leaf to be found. It has also been hot. On Monday, it was nearly 80 degrees. A simmering pot of soup on the stove in 80 degree heat? No thank you.
But, those cold, foggy days do come. And Halloween night was one of them. So I had the tiniest of dinner parties, one where I fixed my normal weeknight stuff, but maybe a wee bit fancier, and invited my dear friend Meg over to share in a hearty bowl of pumpkin leek soup.
I was secretly hoping that we might actually get a trick-or-treater so I could hand out one of the small bags of m&ms I had at the ready, but it was not to be. All the cool kids ring other people's door bells, I guess.
But we did have meat and cheese plate, with a bright orange, super salty cheese from France and sliced salami from Fino In Fondo, a salumi operation run by friends-of-friends in McMinnville, Oregon. And we had a salad bursting with CSA goodness: roasted yellow gypsy peppers, apple chunks, spiced pumpkin seeds, and greens. And we had soup. Soup that was made from a small, gnarled, knobby green pumpkin that I roasted in the oven, scooped out the sweet insides and mixed, along with broth from the freezer and a few spices and some cream, into a slightly-lumpy-in-all-the-best-ways, thoroughly autumnal soup. Are you happy now?
After we finished, Meg taught Sean the basics of Instagramming and we ate pumpkin shaped sugar cookies, blondies, and candy corn. Pretty autumnal, yes?
Pumpkin Leek Soup
From Savor the Memories by Marguerite Marceau Henderson
4 Tablespoons butter
2 large leeks, white part only, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups pumpkin puree (I roasted and scooped the meat from a small pumpkin that yielded almost exactly two cups flesh).
4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar (optional -- my fresh pumpkin was quite sweet)
1 and 1/2 cups half-and-half
In a large saucepan, heat butter and saute the leeks for 8 to 10 minutes on low heat, stirring often. Leeks should be soft and golden. Add the thyme, nutmeg, salt, pepper, pumpkin, broth, and sugar (if using). Stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add half-and-half and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with garnishes of sour cream, chopped green onions, and grated white cheddar cheese.