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September 2016

Bubbling in the Cauldron ~ Serving your Autumn Soups and Stews in Superbly Spooky Style plus my Favorite Pumpkin Soup Recipe!





 Staub Cast Iron Pumpkin Cocotte, 3.5QT

 I cannot resist a soup tureen...ever. Call me old fashioned, but I just think that there's a romance about these things, a timelessness. Sitting down at a beautifully set table, with a tureen full of a steaming soup or chili just makes you take the time to  eat...and talk...and eat. Soup is the easiest thing in the world to learn to cook and if you're at a loss, ask me, I've got hundred of recipes. They all need to be served with just a loaf of fresh bread and butter, some beautifully ripened  cheese,  a simple tossed salad and a delicious glass of wine or a tankard of fresh cider. That's it and you've got a meal.   

 I'll leave you with my favorite recipe....

Every autumn, this is the soup that I make when I want to begin a meal with a rich harvest flavour. It can be served many different ways, but in my mind, it looks just wonderful in a Armetale or other pewter type bowl styles reminiscent of Colonial Williamsburg! I've also served this many times in a large hollowed out pumpkin that has been gilded with edible silver or gold leaf. It's a very easy trick, and you can find the edible leaf along with the directions for it's application in a good craft store where they have a baking section.


This year, because I simply cannot resist it, this soup is going to be served in this tureen! First piece of email I received today from my beautiful daughter in law was the above Instagram link to this Staub tureen from Food52. It had one simple message. "You need this.". Does she know me or what? Click on that video....mind blowingly wonderful....Spoil yourself and buy one too!

Take a chunk of excellent butter and melt it in a soup pot. Add several chopped spanish onions and a shallot or two! Saute the onions until they are translucent and add 3 large cans of cooked pumpkin and several quarts of really good chicken stock. Bring the whole of it to a simmer and let the flavours brew! The magical ingredient here is chunky peanut butter!!!!!! I whisk in a cup of it or even more depending upon the taste. After it has simmered for about 20 minutes, stir in a quart of organic half and half. I always use organic milk or cream if possible because I've discovered that the texture is much finer and the taste is just that much better. 

Add salt and pepper to taste and about a tablespoon of good curry powder or pumpkin pie spice if you like it! You can also add a 1/4 of a cup of Calvado's (an apple brandy) if you'd like. I've also made this soup with butternut squash, halved and roasted with butter,olive oil,cinnamon and a bit of real maple syrup. I usually roast about 4 large acorn squash to get the amount of pulp that I need. The canned squash just doesn't seem to have the nutty flavour that the roasted does and the texture is exquisite. Making this will take some extra time, but I promise you that it's worth it. A lovely glass of wine and a bit of cheese while you're waiting should make the task really bearable, let alone the aroma of the roasting squash!

This soup will stand alone as a meal with a tossed salad with some ripe pear, pecans and warm camembert cheese  and I've also served it with grilled gruyere cheese and tart apple sandwiches.  A Black and Tan (that delectable combination of Guinness Stout and Bass Pale Ale) or some sparkling apple cider would be very satisfying as well!