I saw this recipe and I thought to myself, "what says the entrance of fall more than squash and apples and spice?" There aren't actually any apples in this recipe, but of course I didn't want to leave them off the list!
I made this recipe for dinner after a long college-football Saturday because I figured a small bowl of a slightly rich soup would be all we need. The only change I made to the recipe is I used some sausage crumbles I crisped up in the frying pan and drained really well instead of using bacon, and I didn't have a shallot, so I used 1/4 of a red onion.
Dad liked it. Well, he said he'd eat it. Mom was out of town. I didn't like it. I liked it enough to give it another chance, but I'm going to make some changes. I found the soup to be both flat in taste and overwhelming in certain flavors. The soup itself had a chowder-like texture on the tongue, although it was a bit thinner than a traditional chowder. However, it was certainly appealing to the eyes with a rich orange color floating with spices.
First of all is the canned pumpkin. It's flat-tasting and smells foul, although it is a really pretty color. Cooking it with cream and chicken stock helped a bit, but I'm still not sure I could even taste the pumpkin. Neither could Dad, and I think part of that problem lay in the blue cheese, which I found hit a strong and slightly bitter note against the pumpkin, and the onions, which were a bit forward on the palate because I don't think I cooked them long enough.
So here's what I would do if I make it again (which I will). I'm going to use 1/4 of a yellow onion or a Vidalia (milder and sweeter) and make sure they're cooked in the butter until they're all soft and happy and mellow. I'm not going to skimp on the pumpkin pie spice or the molasses, and I might even use half molasses/half maple syrup. The big change I'm going to make is I'm going to add a roasted red pepper (I might even be able to find them in a jar!) and blend it all up before serving - NOT with blue cheese - with simple sour cream and bacon or sausage. I will resist the urge to garnish with chives as it is in the photo. I might even throw in some peeled apple slices if I find the sweet/spicy ratio is still off.
Hopefully the changes will balance out the flavors and give the soup more depth, as well as taking the edge off that canned pumpkin (*grimace*). Overall rating: 3.5/5
My next challenge is to try and duplicate a bbq salmon salad I had at a pub in St. Louis.