I am not at all a Rachel Ray fan. Her dishes just always seem way too bland and unappetizing. But, I came across this one last year while perusing pumpkin soup recipes and it stuck in my head all year long — it’s rated 5 stars out of five and has over 200 reviews. So when our friends Kim and Barry from the Rustic Garden Bistro invited us over for an Autumn themed dinner party a few weeks ago, I dug this one out of my recipe database.
This soup is wonderful, and tastes like a perfect Fall evening! And best of all, it is cheap and easy.
Hubby and I were a bit concerned while making it, because the soup seemed very bland while sampling it through the process. But, keeping the high rating and reviews in mind, we trusted in the finished product. Since we had to transport a couple towns over, we kept the relish on the side and prepared the soup up through the point where we add the cream and nutmeg. We saved those two ingredients until we got to our hosts’ home, so that the cream wouldn’t heat too long. Once there, we added those items, ladled up the soup into bowls and topped with the relish. The relish is the key!!! Adding the relish makes all the difference in the world. So, don’t panic if it tastes bland to you too while cooking.
And, although Rachel’s original recipe claims to yield 8 first course servings, we got 10 out of this batch.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 2 ribs celery with greens, finely chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or 2 teaspoons ground thyme
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 (28-ounce) can cooked pumpkin puree
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 crisp apple, such as McIntosh or Granny Smith, finely chopped
- ¼ red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and melt the butter. Add bay, celery, and onion. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender. Add flour, poultry seasoning and hot sauce, to taste, then cook flour a minute. Whisk in chicken stock and bring liquid to a bubble. Whisk in pumpkin in large spoonfuls to incorporate it into the broth. Simmer soup 10 minutes to thicken a bit then add in cream and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
- While soup cooks, assemble the relish: combine apple, onion, lemon juice, cranberries, chili powder, honey and cinnamon.
- Adjust seasonings in soup and relish and serve soup in shallow bowls with a few spoonfuls of relish.