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Pumpkin Mushroom Soup


If you have any leftover pumpkin puree or roasted pumpkin from the holidays, you should use it to make this delicious seasonal soup.  Filling enough to have as a meal with a side sandwich.  We loved this soup paired with a simple Virginia ham sandwich on a fresh baguette.  The earthiness of the mushroom and pumpkin pairs well with our best-selling white, Vignoles. 
Serves: 4

Cooking time: 50 minutes

2- to 2 ½ -pound pumpkin (or any orange-fleshed squash), peeled, seeded and cubed OR 2 cans of pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)

16 oz, or 2 cups of good chicken stock

½ ounce dried porcini or shitake mushrooms, chopped

Water, to cover the mushrooms

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced, or for a short-cut, buy jarred roasted pepper

12 ounces shitake or crimini mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup Marsala or dry sherry

1 generous Tbs fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves, crumbled

8 fresh sage leaves, stacked and cut crosswise into a chiffonade, or 1 tsp crumbled dried sage leaves

About 1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Dash ground cayenne pepper

2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup of half & half

*Skip to second step if you already have leftover cooked pumpkin. 

Set oven to 400 F.  Peel, seed, and dice pumpkin into a ¾ inch cube.  Place on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 15 minutes, turn, and then roast another 15 minutes until tender and set aside. 

While pumpkin is roasting, place dried mushrooms in a small saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then immediately turn off the heat. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, sauté sliced fresh mushrooms in olive oil with salt and pepper.  Set aside as these will be used to top the soup at the end.

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, salt and sauté until translucent (5 minutes).  Add diced bell pepper, thyme, garlic, and roasted pumpkin or pumpkin puree.   Season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, pour in the wine/sherry and cook until it nearly evaporates, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits.  Add the dried porcini or shitake, plus the reserved liquid, herbs, and nutmeg and stir until the soup bubbles.  Add chicken stock, reduce heat to medium/low and simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

Make sure to remove the bay leaves, and then puree the soup in batches in a blender or food mill.  An immersion blender works great if you have one.  If using a blender or food mill, return soup to the pot and season with cayenne to taste and lemon juice and stir well.  Heat covered, for a few minutes.

Serve soup topped with sautéed mushrooms and a drizzle of half and half.

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