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Savory Autumn Pumpkin Soup

November 14, 2009

I visited Naples, Italy in 1996 and came home ready to recreate several of the dishes that I had tasted there.  This is a hearty Italian soup that is great for late fall, or any time of year.  It is full of vitamins and minerals, great for building healthy hearts and bones—pumpkin is low calorie, excellent source of beta-carotene and zinc for a healthy immune system and youthful glow.  It only takes about an hour (maybe ninety minutes) to make, roughly 30 minutes on each of two days.  This soup is well-worth the effort!

 

Going Shopping:

*2 pounds Mild Italian Sausage meat:  (You can buy it in the casing as links or without the casing these days.  Often, the meat in casings is ground more finely and tends to be more tender in the soup, but you do have to cut the casing and remove the meat first, adding an extra step.  To be honest, I generally avoid the step and buy the meat without the casing—just let it gently simmer instead of boiling and it will be just fine!)

*3 large Apples:  Select a nice apple that holds its texture after cooking.  I like a nice Granny Smith apple, but a Gala, Braeburn, or Cortland would also be nice.  A Macintosh will fall apart and is not the most flavorful.

*2 quarts Soup Stock:  You can buy in cans now a vegetable stock or chicken stock which are very good.  Some versions are even low sodium (good for the heart healthy).  Or, you can cheat and use a couple of bouillon cubes of your choice.

 

Preparation Day One:

Soup Base Ingredients:

2 pounds Mild Italian Sausage Meat

2 Quarts soup stock

 

*Warm the 2 quarts of soup stock over medium high heat.

*Add to the stock as it heats, the mild Italian sausage meat bit by bit (taking the raw meat, chunk it up in little bite sized pieces by hand, dropping the pieces in the water as you go; this will prevent it from sticking together and making a patty at the bottom).

*Stir occasionally; simmer gently and avoid a rolling boil, which will just make the meat tough, for about 15 minutes (start timing after the last chunk of meat is in the water) or until the meat is cooked thoroughly.

*Let cool in the refrigerator over night.

 

Preparation Day Two:

Remaining Ingredients:

2 large or 3 medium Apples, peeled, cored, chopped

3 large Carrots, chopped

2 stalks Celery, chopped finely (even better with some celery leaves)

1 pie-sized Pumpkin

Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or cilantro, to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

 

*Begin by removing the meat and soup stock combination from the refrigerator.  With a spoon, scoop out the layer of rendered pork fat that has congealed on the top.  You will be left with the start to a great soup and there will be very little saturated fat in it.

*Reheat in stock pot over medium high heat this soup base.

*Peel, core and chop the apples; peel carrots and chop; wash and chop celery stalks.  Add to soup base.

*Cut open pumpkin; remove seeds (can be toasted in oven by themselves for yummy snack); peel pumpkin and cut into small bite-sized bits.  Add to soup base.

*Add water if necessary—soup should be liquid, and not so thick as a stew.

*Simmer for about 15 minutes or until carrots and pumpkin pieces are no longer hard—the pumpkin will fall apart a bit when pricked with a fork, while the carrots will remain more consistent.

*Add salt and pepper to taste; garnish with some freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro.

*Serve piping hot and enjoy!

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