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Pumpkin Soup with Wild Rice and Apples

'Small Sugar Pie' pumpkins are ideal for holding hearty servings of pumpkin soup, garnished with cooked wild rice, toasted almonds, and apples -- though it's just as delicious served in a regular soup bowl.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2001

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 pumpkin (1 1/2 pound), such as 'Cheese' or 'Small Sugar Pie,' seeded, peeled, cut into 1-inch wedges, and thinly sliced (to yield about 4 cups)
  • 1 large turnip, peeled, cut into 4 or 6 pieces, and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup wild rice
  • 1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place almond slivers on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until golden brown, shaking the pan halfway through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a board and chop; set aside.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add leek; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes more. Add pumpkin, turnip, carrots, parsnip, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper; cook, stirring, until the vegetables are well mixed and coated with butter.

  3. Add 3 1/2 cups stock and thyme; bring to a boil over medium heat. Return heat to medium-low; gently simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

  4. Fill a saucepan with cold water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and rice. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat. Simmer until rice is tender, about 45 minutes, or according to package instructions. Drain; set aside.

  5. Remove soup from heat; let cool slightly. Use an immersion blender or puree in a food processor or blender (fill blender only halfway -- hot liquids expand). Working in batches, add stock to thin if necessary. Reheat soup over medium-low heat.

  6. Heat remaining tablespoon butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add apple; cook until brown and soft, about 3 minutes. Add scallions, remaining salt, and cayenne; cook until scallions soften, about 1 minute. Add rice and reserved nuts; cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.

  7. Ladle soup into pumpkin bowls, and garnish with wild-rice mixture. Serve.

Cook's Notes

To convert a pumpkin into a bowl, remove all the seeds and strings a sharp-edge spoon. Filling the pumpkin with boiling water moments before serving soup in it tempers the flesh and helps keep the food hot.

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