This might actually be the first recipe I futzed with enough to call it mine. It started out years ago as a butternut squash soup then I read a few more recipes and combined ingredients. This soup is made once a year for our Friendsgiving celebration...it has a lot of ingredients and steps, but I promise it's worth it.
Pumpkin Apple Bacon Soup with Caramelized Croutons
- Roasted Garlic; 12 cloves
- 1 lb bacon cooked and crumbled, fat reserved
- 2 small (or one large) onion; chopped
- 2 Granny Smith apples peeled and chopped
- 32 ounces chicken broth
- 8 ounces apple cider
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 29 ounces of pure pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons Chicken Better than Bouillon
- 8 ounces heavy cream
- Baguette; sliced
- ½ a stick of butter; softened
- 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
Roast the garlic tossed in a little olive oil to keep it from sticking in a tinfoil pouch for about 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven...it should be lightly browned and mushy. You can do this a day or two before and keep the cloves in the fridge.
The night before you can also toast up the croutons. Mix together the softened butter with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread the mixture onto the bread slices and bake in the oven until slightly browned and crispy...approximately 5 minutes at 400 degrees, but keep an eye on them. Croutons can be stored in the fridge, but take them out in advance to come to room temperature before serving the soup.
Use a big soup pot (I love my Le Creuset) to cook up the bacon, I usually cut it into pieces before cooking as opposed to keeping it whole and crumbling it after, but either way would work. Cook until crispy, take out all the bacon, and some of the fat carefully reserving enough just enough fat (about 3 tablespoons) to cook the chopped onion and apple in until it is softened. Add the salt, sugar, nutmeg, cloves and poultry seasoning.
Add the roasted garlic and the some of the chicken stock and some of the apple cider; SLOWLY not all 32oz of broth or 8oz of the cider, just enough to cover the onion, apples and garlic and then see if you need more. Allow mixture to simmer until soft enough to puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a regular blender and then back to the pot.
After you have a smooth consistency add the pumpkin puree, the Better than Bouillon and then slowly add some of the cream until you have the consistency and creaminess you want. If the soup is still too thick at this point you can thin it out with a little more chicken broth. You can continue to let the soup simmer for about twenty minutes before serving.
Serve the soup with a crouton floating in the middle and a sprinkle of the crispy bacon bits.