pumpkin and mushroom soup

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Cooking déjà vu: When you start to make a recipe and then think, “Wait a minute…this seems familiar…have I made this before?!” Generally not a great sign because if you don’t remember it, perhaps it wasn’t worth remembering.

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I actually found pictures of this soup from last year, when I’d apparently made it and decided it wasn’t worth sharing. But I didn’t understand how a recipe like this could be anything but good – mushrooms and squash seem like a great match that can only get better with the addition of fall herbs and spices.

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I don’t think I did too much differently this time – cooked the vegetables longer until they were nice and browned maybe, and this time I stirred in some pureed pumpkin at the end, whereas before I’d just used diced squash at the beginning.

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The pureed squash made a huge difference in texture, thickening the soup so much it resembled stew. It was so hearty and delicious, and you’d never guess that there’s no meat in it, especially with that deep brown color. I was right to try this recipe again, because the woodsy mushrooms and the earthy squash are an unbeatable combination.

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One year ago: Sugar Cookies (for decorating)

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Pumpkin and Mushroom Soup (adapted quite a bit from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)

Serves 4

I kind of feel like this should be called “Squash and Mushroom Soup” because it seems like other types of squash are used more in savory recipes than pumpkin is. You can really use any type of squash you want, as long as it has a similar texture. The same goes for the fresh mushrooms – I used maitake, but cremini, shiitake, button, whatever, they all work.

½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
salt and ground black pepper
1 small pie pumpkin, peeled and diced
12 ounces mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon sage leaves, minced
pinch nutmeg
¼ cup Marsala or dry sherry
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup cooked pureed pumpkin (like the stuff from a can)

1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then immediately turn off the heat. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven (not nonstick) over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown at the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the squash, mushrooms, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper and continue cooking and occasionally stirring until the mushrooms release their liquid, it evaporates, and the vegetables brown, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, use a fork to lift the rehydrated porcini mushrooms from the liquid and finely chop them. Save the liquid.

4. Add the porcini, garlic, herbs, and nutmeg and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and cook until it nearly evaporates, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits.

5. Add the broth, pumpkin, and mushroom soaking liquid (either strain it through a coffee filter or just be careful to leave the grit behind with a bit of liquid) and bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Adjust the seasonings and serve.

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  1. Oooh, what a gorgeous soup. I like the way you used the pumpkin seeds. Thanks.

  2. This looks delicious! You really can’t go wrong with that combination.

  3. I love the flavor combination in this soup! The mushrooms look like meat in that photo that’s second from the bottom. I never would have thought it was a meatless soup if I’d just looked at the picture and not the ingredient list. Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a hearty delicious soup 🙂 I love the rich meaty mushrooms….yum!

  5. Looks great! I’m surprised it’s so dark…

  6. I wish my husband liked mushrooms. I would be all over this soup. I wonder if I could trick him?!! Hm…….I just might try it.

  7. This looks lovely! Great flavors…and how you can make something dark so beautifully photographed is amazing! Mine would look like, well, something else! – mary