I love soup. seriously. love it. And it has nothing to do with the fact that during my favorite time of year it's all I want to eat. Or maybe it has everything to with it. I am always surprised at how full I feel after eating a seemingly small amount of soup. It has a way of making me feel so content, so at ease, so comfortable.
Of course there are as many types of soups as there are types of mullets (completely random. but hey, they're on my mind). My favorite kinds (of soups, not mullets) are thick, creamy, and smooth, a little sweet and a lot of savory, topped with a drizzle of thinned sour cream and toasted nuts, and paired with right-out-of-the-oven bread. When sopped, it has the perfect soak to cling ratio. The amount of soup soaked into the bread never exceeds the amount clinging to the crumb outside and the very center of the bread is dry so you can enjoy every aspect of the meal in one bite. I especially like the soup that clings because it has the potential of making your bites just a bit messy, moreso if you aren't paying close attention. When I am distracted I almost always get a little on my chin.
It's all part of the experience, slurping a little as you take a bite of dipped bread, changing it up by throwing in tears and eating it by spoon, scraping your spoon along the bottom of the mostly empty bowl, and the ripple of the soup as you serve yourself seconds that slowly level out by the time you tear a morsel from another roll. It's the informalities of eating soup that make it so comforting, to the point that husband will reach over and wipe the soup from my chin, even if we have company.
pumpkin and caramelized onion soup
1 - 2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
a few sprigs of thyme, only the green parts
about 1.5 pounds roasted sugar pumpkin puree
1 quart stock or water
salt and pepper, to taste
sour cream thinned with milk
toasted pumpkin seeds
Melt the butter in a sauce pan on medium high heat, add the onions and cook for a few minutes until tender. Cook for a few minutes more, then add the maple syrup. Reduce heat to low and let cook, stirring occasionally until dark and caramelized, 45 minutes to an hour. If you notice them beginning to burn reduce the heat even lower.
Add the garlic and thyme, let cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the pumpkin puree, and heat until just warm. Take off the heat, add the stock and with an immersion blender or in batches with a standing blender, blend until smooth. Add more stock/water if you want it thinner, more pumpkin puree if you want it thicker. Taste and season. Put back on the heat and cook until heated through.
Serve with a drizzle of thinned sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds, and a fresh grating of nutmeg or allspice. Enjoy hot with some good bread.
- i know the amount of time allotted to the caremelization of the onions seems like quite the commitment, but it ensures the best taste. If you can do it longer, go for it. If you only have a half hour to spare, it will be enough. Just be sure the onions are broken down enough to puree, and not too sweet, but enough to compliment the savory winter squash.
- if you do not have sweet onions, yellow onions will do just fine.
- canned pumpkin puree will work alright although you may need to adjust the seasonings more as some varieties are often bitter.
- The stock or water should be room temperature or cool to temper the heat of the onions and puree. Then when you are blending the soup, it is not too hot.
- to veganize: use earth balance butter or olive oil with onions, vegetable stock, and toffuti sour cream or chilled and salted coconut cream. easy peasy.