Here in Texas, we are officially in the stage of watching everyone else on Facebook and Instagram enjoy the beginning of Fall, pumpkin spice everything and breaking out the scarves and cute boots while we continue to roast daily. So, even though it's in the high 90's and the humidity is out of control, The Home Town Cook’n Recipe Contest is gearing up for the holidays and they're looking for the best dishes to serve on Thanksgiving. I thought highlighting pumpkin in a savory way and adding a healthy amount of booze would brighten up the holidays even if Mother Nature decides not to cooperate in my neck of the woods.
Using canned pumpkin makes throwing this soup together quick and easy. I pureed mine in my Vitamix for an ultra velvety finish and the sweet and salty crostini are the perfect crunchy dippers!
3 Tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 ½ teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup Amaretto liqueur
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups pure pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 (1/4 inch thick) slices baguette
3 ounces blue cheese
2 Tablespoons honey
½ cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, salt and pepper and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add the minced garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Pour in the Amaretto and bring the mixture to a boil. Allow to simmer until Amaretto is reduced by half.
Add the stock, pumpkin puree and nutmeg. Simmer, over low heat for 15 minutes.
While the soup simmers, place the baguette slices in an even layer on a cookie sheet. Place the bread in the oven and toast for 10-12 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Spread the blue cheese evenly over the crostini and return to the oven for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is warm and melty. Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey.
Turn off the heat, remove the thyme stems and stir the cream into the soup. Using an immersion blender or Vitamix, puree until smooth. Serve immediately with warm crostini.