It’s November in Houston and the weather is finally feeling autumnal. It’s slightly chilly at night and the days are sparkly and clear and the leaves are thinking about turning. (Neveryoumind that it’s still in the 80’s during the day and I have 4 tomatoes on my fall tomato plant). In honor of fall and all the Thanksgiving style cooking I keep seeing on other food blogs, I thought I’d try out something with pumpkin. What could be more fall-like than pumpkin and mushrooms? If you’re still holding onto summer, make some of this rich soup and feel the change!
I dug out the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home for this one. A few years ago I was looking for a good vegetarian cookbook and I kept hearing about Moosewood. Apparently it’s a small empire with more than ten titles, but this book is supposed to be the original and the best. I adapted my recipe from their “Pumpkin and Porcini Soup” which is thicker (no food processor and less broth in theirs) and completely vegetarian. My recipe could easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the beef broth.
1/2-1 Cup broken pieces of dried porcini or shitake mushrooms soaking in 2 cups boiling water
2 medium onions, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms (I use baby bella)
4 cups or 29 oz. baked and pureed or canned pumpkin
3-4 cups beef broth or vegetable broth
1/4 cooking sherry or Marsala wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Spices: 1 tsp thyme, 1.5 tbls sage, generous dash nutmeg, pepper to taste
1. Soak the dried mushrooms while you cook. Be sure to SAVE their liquid for the soup.
2. Melt butter and saute onions and garlic for about 10 minutes until very soft.
3. Add in mushrooms, thyme, and sage. Saute mushrooms until soft, about 7 minutes.
4. Stir in nutmeg, sherry or Marsala, and soy sauce. Add in 1-1.5 cup beef broth and allow to simmer about 5 minutes.
5. Allow to cool on back of stove while draining the soaked mushrooms. Make choices about how much of the soup you want chunky and how much you want smooth. I reserved half the soaked mushrooms and added them AFTER food processing.
6. Ladle mushroom and onion stew into the food processor. You don’t need a ton of liquid. Add in spoonfuls of canned pumpkin, about half. Process to desired consistency.
7. Pour the processed chowder into a LARGE pot. Add in the rest of the pumpkin, any left over stew, the reserved soaked mushrooms, the mushroom soaking liquid, and at least two cups of the beef broth. You may like your soup thinner or thicker– so use as much broth as you want– but don’t leave out the mushroom liquor! Moosewood also suggests adding a cup of milk at this point so you could do that too.
8. Heat and stir until incorporated. Taste for salt, pepper, etc. Serve with crusty bread.
This is a really flavorful, rich soup. I’m not going to lie, it tastes a little like kicking fall leaves around on a sidewalk and throwing a scarf around your neck. It’s also fairly guilt free and can easily be made vegetarian. What are you cooking that makes you feel like it’s officially fall?