This hearty autumnal soup pairs two of the season’s favorite ingredients, pumpkin and apples, although hubbard or butternut squash can easily serve as a substitute for the pumpkin. The cider adds a pleasant sweetness. Serve the pumpkin-cider soup as a starter for dinner or with a salad for lunch.–Margaret M. Johnson
In a stock pot or large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and celery, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add the pumpkin or squash, apples, stock or broth, cider, and sage, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove the sage leaves.
Working in batches, transfer the pumpkin soup to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. (Or purée in the pot with an immersion blender.) Return the soup to the pot, stir in the cream, and cook until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle the pumpkin soup into shallow bowls, place a spoonful of crème fraîche in the center of each, and sprinkle with the parsley and chives. Serve with the brown bread.
To make crème fraîche, combine 1 cup heavy cream with 1 tablespoon buttermilk in a glass jar. Stir to blend, then cover and let stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, or until thickened. Refrigerate.
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