14 October 2008

a lighter fare

This is one of my favorite soups. Now, I am not a big pumpkin pie eater, so don't think you have to love pumpkin pie to enjoy pumpkin soup. I make it at least every couple of weeks from October through March and then at least once over the summer. It is something I make just for me. Bryan doesn't care for soup. I shouldn't say that. He likes soup fine so long as it's full of beef or chicken and is accompanied by a steak or chicken breast!

Today, with Addi in kindergarten and Libby at preschool, I re-made this soup with pleasing results. I substituted some of chicken stock with water and the heavy cream with half and half and plain, nonfat yogurt. The taste was the same and the texture was only slightly thinner. Honestly, my tummy sometimes protests to the richness of this soup's original recipe. No complaints today!

Note: I also substituted homemade applesauce for the Granny Smith apple only because it's what I had on hand. If I have an apple next time I'll opt for it. Although the applesauce tasted fine, I really prefer the crunch of the apple.

Lighter Pumpkin Soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 fresh bay leaf (I use dried)
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped (I use half)
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 tsp. hot sauce
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
28 ounces pumpkin puree
1 cup half and half (I bet any milk would also work here)
1 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1/2 tsp. fresh nutmeg (again, I use dried)
(for the relish)
1 Granny Smith apple, finely chopped (or applesauce!)
1/4 red onion, finely chopped (optional, in my opinion)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped (I usually don't take the time to chop these)
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. honey (my applesauce has a little sugar in it, so I deleted the honey today)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Heat a soup pot over medium high and add oil and butter. When butter melts, add onion, celery, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and saute until onion and celery are as cooked as you want them. For me, that is until the onion is soft and maybe starting to turn a golden brown. Add flour, poultry seasoning and hot sauce. I use a whisk here to get the flour good and coated with the fat in the pan. Let that cook for a minute or two. Then whisk in chicken stock and water. (It is important to whisk this in or you'll never get the flour to un-lump!) Bring to a bubble. Whisk in the pumpkin in large spoonfuls until incorporated. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. Add the half and half/milk and whisk in the yogurt. Add the nutmeg. To assemble the relish combine the apple(sauce), lemon juice, cranberries, chili powder, honey, cinnamon, and/or onion.

It is delicious and perfect for a fall lunch or add a salad and turkey sandwich and you've got an easy supper.