DIVAS ON A DIME: October brings pumpkin bisque with a twist

By Patti Diamond

This creamy pumpkin soup is sure to be a family favorite. (www.JasonCoblentz.com)

Oh, October! It’s officially pumpkin-flavored everything month! If you want to see the face of bliss, offer your loved ones this easy-to-prepare scrumptious Pumpkin Apple Cider Soup lovingly paired with adorable grilled cheese croutons.

Although incredibly nutritious, pumpkin on its own is a little bland. We’re infusing complexity into it by adding onion, garlic, lots of seasonal spices, apple and apple cider. The cider and the apple bring the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity to this soup. However, this is a savory soup; don’t expect a pool of pumpkin pie!

If your budget allows, this is the time to splurge on some good unfiltered cider. You only need one cup for the soup; the rest you get to sip when evenings get chilly.

You can choose to make this soup as chunky or as smooth as you like. The outcome depends on how small you chop the ingredients and if you decide to puree the finished soup. I chose the middle ground with finely diced onion and apple and was very pleased with the results. My family loved the little bursts of apple spiking the rich and savory soup.



Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8 cups

1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter

1 cup onion, diced

1 cup apple (any variety), peeled, cored, and diced

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 (large 29-ounce) can pure pumpkin

4 cups (32-ounce box) chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup apple cider

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Optional for bisque: half and half or heavy cream

Garnish: sour cream, pepitas, roasted pumpkin seeds

In a heavy bottomed soup pot or large saucepan over medium heat, bring the oil and butter up to a sizzle and saute the onion for about 3 minutes. Next, add the apple and continue to saute until both are quite soft. Add the garlic and stir to combine and take a moment to appreciate that amazing aroma. Don’t you love a great savory and sweet combo? Now, let’s make soup! Add the pumpkin, chicken or veggie broth, apple cider and stir. Now add the spices, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and let this simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Adjust seasoning to taste.

At this point, for a creamier, totally smooth soup, you can use an immersion blender or transfer soup to a blender to puree until it reaches your desired consistency. You also can choose to add half and half or heavy cream to make pumpkin bisque. I’d start at half a cup and add from there.

To serve, ladle into bowls and serve with grilled cheese croutons — instructions below. For extra Diva flair, you can garnish with little dollops of sour cream (it doesn’t dissolve into the soup like heavy cream would) and a sprinkle of bright green pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) and/or roasted whole pumpkin seeds.


Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 12 croutons

1 baguette (day old is perfect!)

1 (8 ounce) block sharp cheddar cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

Preheat a skillet on medium-high heat. Slice a baguette into 24 (1/4 inch) slices. Slice cheese into 12 slices. Place a slice of room temperature sharp cheddar cheese between two slices of bread and butter the outsides, like little sandwiches. Grill the croutons in the skillet until golden brown.

Make extra, because these are simply addictive! I kid you not. This is a dish destined to become a fall family favorite.



Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com


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