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A Bowl Full of Autumn November 4, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, soupe du semaine.
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Don’t you love eating seasonally?

I mean, everything is at its best when it’s in season.  Let’s face it – a tomato out of season just isn’t worth the bother.  But a tomato in season?  There is very little better, is there?

Besides the just plain better quality, in-season produce is usually easier to get – and much cheaper.  Of course, there’s the “free” aspect of growing things in your garden (especially an herb garden!) – but even if you’re paying for it, a bunch of, say, fresh sage, is going to to set you back a whole lot more in February than it will now, when the bushes are giving their all before their winter hibernation!

So I’m browsing the internet last weekend, looking for something to do with the pumpkins I brought home from the market.

I still say there is nothing wrong with bringing two pie pumpkins home, even though you’ve got no intention of making pies!   Pumpkins aren’t just for dessert, you know!  (Though I will admit – they work quite nicely as muffins.)

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So I’m looking for something to do with this dollar’s worth of pumpkins, and I ended up on the Better Homes & Gardens site.

Do you know my first cookbook was an old Better Homes cookbook?  I still have it, too.

And there I found just the thing – pumpkin, barley and sage soup. I’ve got pumpkin, I’ve got barley, and I’ve got sage – this was definitely worth checking out!

And with a few minor alterations, I was set to make soup!

The first ingredient was, surprisingly, neither pumpkin, barley nor sage.

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It was andouille sausage.

Huh.  Fortunately, we had a package of Emeril’s smoked sausage that we’d picked up at Sam’s Club a while ago.  (It must have been a while ago, because it appears that they don’t even make it anymore.  Huh.  Better use that up soon!)  I pulled a couple of links out of the package, diced ‘em up, and added them to a diced onion and a handful of chopped sage.  The recipe says 1 Tbsp – I used about twice that.

And that all gets cooked in an oiled Dutch oven until the onion starts to soften – about five minutes.

PhotobucketThen we added about a Tablespoon (heaping) of my veggie bullion, half a cup of pearled barley.  You could probably add more if you’re going to serve the soup right away, but I knew this would be sitting in the fridge, so I didn’t want to end up with a giant pot of barley.  Plus, I’m not really sure how “quick-cooking” barley differs from regular barley, and the full cup called for in the recipe seemed . . . excessive.

And anyway, we then add 4 cups of water.

I wouldn’t bother with chicken stock – you’ve got that whole smoked sausage thing going on already, not to mention the veggie bullion.

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Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the barley is cooked – about half an hour for regular pearled barley (10-15 minutes if you do use quick-cooking, and probably closer to an hour if you go crazy and use hulled barley), stirring occasionally.

And then, once the barley is just about done, add about a cup and a half of pumpkin puree – either from a can (not so much) or fresh, plus 2-3 Tablespoons maple syrup and a Tablespoon of cider vinegar.

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And that’s it – your soup is done.

Now I’m going to tell you this – we ate this soup the same evening I made it, Saturday, and it was quite good.  Even Peeps was surprised that he liked it as much as he did.

We were both happy with it – it was quick to put together, full of  healthy, seasonal ingredients (plus, of course, sausage), and it was fabulous with a fresh baguette.

But I had leftovers for lunch a few days later, and it was absolutely fantastic.  Do try to make it at least a day ahead – it’s worth the wait!

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Comments

1. Mango - November 4, 2010

Thanks for your thoughts on Mango’s injury. He did have his hips checked a year ago and according to the vet he is the poster child for square and healthy hips. Doesn’t mean he hasn’t done something, but at least it isn’t displaysia. He’ll be going for a thorough exam on Monday. Hope we can get to the bottom of things.

Mango Momma

Oh, good! I do know (only too well!) how prone these big guys are to the hip problems – our Jarly does have very weak hips, and we first became aware of the problem when he just, out of nowhere, started limping, so . . .


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