Roasted Pumpkin Apple Soup
Note: Use any firm, sweet-tart apple for this soup. From "Astonishing Apples," by Joan Donatelle.
• 1 (2-lb.) baking pumpkin, quartered and seeded
• 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 1/2 lb. apples, cored and chopped, plus 1 for garnish, unpeeled
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 3 small shallots, chopped
• 1 rib celery, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tbsp. minced fresh sage
• 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
• 4 c. chicken stock
• 2 c. apple cider
• 1/4 c. honey
• 1 tbsp. pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds), or sunflower seeds
• 2 tbsp. pumpkin seed oil, or substitute walnut or olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle pumpkin quarters with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 45 minutes. As the pumpkin is roasting, core and slice the garnish apple into 20 thin slices. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for about 15 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool. When the pumpkin is tender, set aside to cool. Scoop out the flesh.
Meanwhile, in a large stockpot set over medium-high heat, warm remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add carrots, shallots, celery, chopped apples, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables and apples are beginning to soften, add the garlic, sage and nutmeg. Stir for about 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant. Stir in the pumpkin, stock and cider, cover the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the honey.
Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. (Alternatively, work in batches to carefully purée the soup in a blender.) Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve in warmed soup bowls. Garnish each serving with 2 slices of roasted apple, a pinch of pepitas or sunflower seeds, and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil.