This is a good, hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fall soup. It makes a hell of a lot, too, so I’m gonna have plenty of this for leftovers down the line (which is good, because the boyfriend loved it).  The most work you’re gonna put into this is peeling and chopping and dicing and mincing everything up, but once that’s done, you pretty much just throw it in the pot and let it sautee/simmer. 

I didn’t include the peanut garnish from the original recipe, however, this would probably be improved even further by a dollop of peanut butter in the soup. This is pretty damn good as is, though.

Massaman Curry Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 Anaheim chiles (substitute red chile of choice if you don’t like Anaheims), seeded and minced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 c vegetable stock
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 T massaman curry paste (or more to taste)
  • 2 large leaves kale, torn
  • 2 7 oz packages udon noodles (I used Sanukiya Jumbo Udon noodles)

Take your olive oil, heat it over medium high heat in a large pot, and add your Anaheims, garlic, and ginger, sauteeing until fragrant (about one minute). Add in your carrot and sweet potato, and sautee for another four to five minutes, stirring frequently.

Then, add your vegetable stock, coconut milk, and curry paste, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for a good fifteen to twenty minutes, until your sweet potatoes and carrots in particular are good and fork tender. 

To finish, add in your torn kale and your udon noodles, and stir frequently, simmering until the noodles come apart and thicken slightly, and the kale starts to wilt. And then, enjoy your ridiculously hearty soup!

This is one of the more interesting flavor combinations I’ve ever tried. Caramelized pears and blue cheese makes perfect logical sense to me, but as a cream based soup?? (It works way better than you’d think.)  

I’m not quite sure if I’m feeling it at the moment, but honestly, worst comes to worst I try this again in a while. (Plus, we’re still in pear season at the farmer’s market for a good long while, this will probably be even better come fall.)

Parts of the original recipe are a bit vague/contradicting, so I’ve clarified where I can and honestly just guessed where I can’t. Kevin also recommends crispy prosciutto as a garnish for this, and I’d agree with that – however, this was made for vegetarians on this initial round, so I’ll try that in the future. 

Caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • 6 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch pieces (I used most of a small bag of Asian pears from the farmer’s market)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • .5 t thyme (ideally fresh and chopped, but ground works just fine if you don’t have any)
  • 3 c vegetable stock
  • .5 lbs potato, peeled and diced (I used some small red potatoes)
  • 4 oz crumbled blue cheese (I used a gorgonzola per recipe recommendations)
  • .5 c milk (half and half and heavy whipping cream are also options)
  • sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • (optional: diced crispy proscuitto or bacon or pancetta if making it not vegetarian!)

Melt your butter over medium high heat in a large pot. As soon as it’s melted, add the brown sugar, and cook until the butter and sugar starts to bubble (see pic 1). Add in your pear pieces, and cook until lightly browned and tender (this took about 5 to 7 minutes, should look like pic 2). 

Then, add your onion, and cook until tender, about another three to five minutes. Add in the thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute) , then add in the broth, milk, and potato. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, until the potato is tender (about ten to fifteen minutes, I went for ten because one of the people I was cooking for had to leave soon). 

If you have a stick blender, take it and puree the soup until you’ve got a nice silky soup. If you don’t, put it in the blender in batches, and puree until smooth.  Turn off your heat, return the soup to the pot, and then take your blue cheese crumbles and stir them in in small batches until melted, tasting after each batch to make sure that the cheese doesn’t overwhelm the sweetness of the caramelized pears too much. Once you’ve got it at the perfect balance for your tastes, add in the sea salt and pepper, give it a last stir, and serve! (The recipe mentions stirring in the milk again here, I chose not to, and it still came out well.) (If you would want to add in the pancetta/prosciutto/bacon, this is where you’d do it.)

This uses up the last of the diced pumpkin I had on hand, and let me tell you, it is a pretty spectacular dish. The original recipe has a LOT of additional bits and baubles, and some more obscure ingredients, so the version I cooked has some significant changes. If I ever find some of those ingredients, I’ll probably try again, but for now, the version I have is pretty damn good.

The one more obscure ingredient I will recommend getting is harissa – a local farmer’s market stand that specializes in peppers and spicy stuff had their own homemade version, so that was pretty easy to find for me. In case you don’t have something equivalent where you are, Smitten Kitchen has a harissa recipe that I will probably try out at some point; otherwise, try a Whole Foods or an online spice store. 

Pumpkin Chicken Tagine

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces (mine was probably closer to 2 lbs, I used chicken I had in the freezer, 2 large breasts)
  • 1 onion, diced (I used half of a large onion)
  • 1 T fresh garlic, grated
  • 1 T fresh ginger, grated 
  • .5 t ground tumeric
  • .5 t ground cinnamon
  • .5 t ground ginger
  • .5 t ground cloves
  • .5 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 4 c pumpkin (about 2 lbs), diced
  • 2 c apples (about 3-4 apples, 1 lb), cored, peeled, and diced
  • 1 T harissa
  • 1 T honey
  • sea salt and pepper
  • (also recommended for the main recipe is .25 c dried cranberries, saffron threads and preserved lemon, I substituted a few squeezes of lemon juice for the lemon and forewent the cranberries and saffron EDIT: will probably add the cranberries back in next time I try this)
  • (additional optional items for garnish: .25 c toasted sliced almonds, 2 T chopped cilantro, .25 c yogurt, .25 c pomegranate seeds)

Heat your oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the diced chicken, and brown lightly on all sides, and then remove and set aside. Add the diced onion and saute for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the tumeric, cinnamon, ground cloves and ginger, garlic, fresh ginger, and cayenne pepper, and saute until fragrant, about a minute. 

Add in all of your other ingredients (the pumpkin, apples, chicken, honey, harissa, salt and pepper, and chicken stock), give it a thorough stir so it all combines, and let it come to a boil, before reducing to a simmer.  Cover, and simmer for about twenty minutes, until the pumpkin is tender. 

And then, enjoy your fantastic spicy fall stew, ideally with some couscous on the side!

So, my friend paintboxsoapworks has been talking about this apple butter a lot recently this fall, and I finally got her to write the recipe down. Because, seriously, apple butter plus bourbon and a vanilla bean? World of yes, there. Right about the time she posted it over on her blog Butter and Eggs, one of the jam stalls at the farmer’s market offered a 6 or so pound bag of Cortland apples for $6, so the stars aligned pretty perfectly on the timing for this. And what I got out of this recipe is gonna last me a while – that’s one quart jar and two 10 oz jars on that final picture. 

The only alteration I will note on this recipe is that I did this entirely in my crockpot, as opposed to in the stove, and started the crockpot about halfway through peeling all the apples (which took about an hour total). 

Vanilla Bourbon Apple Butter
Makes at least 1 qt jar plus 2 10 oz jars apple butter

Ingredients

  • appx 5 lbs medium to large apples, peeled and chopped (I got a six pound bag of Cortlands)
  • .5 c water
  • .5 to 1 c dark brown sugar (I used 1 c, adjust based on your tastes)
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • ground nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
  • pinch salt
  • .25 to .5 c bourbon or whiskey (I used half a cup of Bulleit)

Combine all of your ingredients in a crockpot set to high, cover, and cook for approximately two and a half to three hours.  Stir fairly frequently; the apples are ready when you can take them and smush them against the side of the pot with a spoon. The difference between pictures 1 and 2 is after approximately two hours of cooking on high. 

Turn off the heat, remove your vanilla bean, and then take a stick blender (best gift I’ve ever gotten, seriously) and blend, until you get a silky sauce similar to picture 3. Give it a few extra passes, as there might be a chunk of apple or two that it misses. (If you don’t have one, a normal blender will probably work fine, but you’ll need to do it in batches, and it will be messier.)  

Turn your crockpot back on to low, and cook for another half hour. Do a quick taste test at this point, and determine if you’d like to add more lemon, sugar, or spices. Hayley reminds you that hot apple butter is going to taste sweeter/stronger than after you’ve chilled it, but that the spices will continue to bloom once it’s chilling in the fridge.

You’ll know the butter is done once you’ve got a thick sauce that stands up in peaks when you drop it back into the pot (see: picture 3 for the beginnings of that).  Do one last taste test, spoon into jars, and let cool before putting on the lids, and refrigerate/freeze as you so choose!  

I’ll be using this on this morning’s midmorning snack – apple cherry bread from the farmer’s market.