Recipes: Fall Favorites ~ Pumpkin Soup and Braised Purple Cabbage
Fall has arrived in the beautiful Berkshires, with all of the things we love about it: the vibrant colors, crisp air, dramatic skies, apple harvests, picking pumpkins and the transforming leaves.
I’ve been experimenting a lot with all of the wonderful Fall vegetables. Pumpkins are the most iconic, of course, so I’ve been playing around with both small “pie pumpkins” as well as larger Jack-o-Lantern types. [Scroll down for a 2nd recipe after this one]
Since I am not a baker, I wanted to make a savory dish. I had seen recipes for pumpkin soup before, so I decided to try roasting the pumpkin along with apples, onions and fresh sage to create very deep flavors, then finish it off on the stovetop.
1 medium pumpkin (goal is to yield about 6 cups of usable pumpkin)
6 medium apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1/4 c fresh sage leaves, whole
3 medium onions, quartered
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1T olive oil
optional: 1/4 c cream for finishing
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut the pumpkin in half and remove seeds (set aside for roasting later).
Rub the inside with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and place cut side down on baking sheet.
Place apple pieces and onion on another baking sheet with the sage leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Mix up so pieces get coated.
Bake pumpkin and apples until both are fork tender — will be a little longer for the pumpkin, around 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool until you can handle the pumpkin.
Scoop out the pumpkin flesh, trying to get as close as you can to the skin, and place in large soup pot with the cooked apples, onions and sage.
If you own an immersion blender, add the vegetable broth, turn on the heat to medium, and go ahead and process the soup until mixed but still slightly chunky in places.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a food processor to puree the pumpkin mixture in batches. Return all to the pot, add the vegetable broth, and turn on the heat to medium.
Once the soup is heated, stir in the ginger powder. Taste for seasoning and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
I served the soup at this stage, but if you want to go for a richer soup, add the cream now, stirring it in before serving.
Another dish came about as a surprise. One of my go-to farmers, Bill from Honey Dog Farm, came over to my booth at the Hillsdale Farmers Market with a bag full of small, dark purple cabbages with leaves curled so tight together, they were like large purple billiard balls. He asked if I had any use for them, and of course I gladly accepted, knowing that they would turn into *something* wonderful.
Indeed, they did! I braised them with tart apples from Little Apple Farm, and sweet red onions from New Leaf Farm, along with a few seasonings. The result was very satisfying… rich flavors, a nice crunch still in the cabbage, and a warming side dish for a weeknight dinner.
6-8 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup red onion, thin sliced
1/2 cup water
1 T brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8-10 whole cloves, in cheesecloth
2 cups peeled and cored apples, medium dice
In a heavy-bottomed skillet, lightly sautee the onion in olive oil until soft.
Add the cabbage, water, brown sugar, vinegar, sea salt, pepper and cloves.
Simmer on medium-low heat until the cabbage is wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the apples, and cook until they are slightly softened but still firm.
Remove the cheesecloth with the cloves.
Taste for seasoning, adding more sea salt or pepper as needed.