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Brandied Pumpkin Soup with Frizzled Leeks

This recipe was inspired by
Amanda Kessler, of Lewisburg, PA (USA).

Yield: two quarts


Step 1
2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
1 each onion, diced
1 each carrot, diced
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
4 c. pumpkin, seeded, peeled and diced
1 each apple, tart, peeled, cored, diced
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, fresh, grated
1 tsp. thyme, fresh, minced

Step 2
1/2 c. calvados or other apple brandy
8 c. chicken or vegetable broth

Step 3
1/2 c. half and half

Step 4
2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
1 each leek, sliced thin
as needed sour cream
to taste salt and pepper

Step 1 procedure:
Melt the butter in a large soup pot and sauté the onion, carrot, and ginger over moderate heat for about 5 minutes, or until they are soft. Add the pumpkin, apple, nutmeg, and thyme to the pot. Cover and stir frequently, cooking for about 10 minutes to begin softening the pumpkin.

Step 2 procedure:
Add the apple brandy, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan and then pour in broth. Simmer mixture until pumpkin is quite soft, about 25 minutes.

In a blender, puree pumpkin mixture in batches and return mixture to the pot. Use caution when blending. Process in small batches. If your blender has a two-piece lid, remove the center lid and ALWAYS cover lid or you and your kitchen will be covered in hot, sticky soup!

Step 3 procedure:
Bring soup to simmer and stir in half-and-half and season to taste with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and keep warm while preparing the leek garnish.

Step 4 procedure:
Melt the butter in a small frying pan and cook the leeks for about 3 minutes or until they are crisp and frizzled.

Ladle hot soup into warmed bowls. Spoon a dollop of sour cream onto soup and top with a few frizzled leeks.

Soup can be cooked and then chilled, covered, for up to 2 days. Simply reheat when ready to serve.