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Smoky Pumpkin Soup by Meredith Griffin

Smoky Pumpkin Soup by Meredith Griffin

This recipe was inspired by the new partnership Major Crush has with the Orion Cooker, which is described an outdoor convection oven that imparts smoke flavor into the food. As I mentioned, my dad smokes a lot of foods and so I crave that aroma and flavor, but the Orion Cooker makes it possible for me to experience it with much less prep and cook time. It’s much less intimidating.

After smoking some squash on the cooker for a salad, I was inspired to try a smoky pumpkin soup to showcase a non-sweet pumpkin dish.

This recipe can be made on any smoker, just adjust the cooking time to your smoker and if you don’t have a smoker or an Orion Cooker, although I highly recommend them, you can add some smoke chips to an aluminum pie place or one of the smoker boxes you can buy at kitchen/BBQ stores.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium pie pumpkin, halved lengthwise and seeds scooped out
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1-2tbsp combo of fresh sage, thyme and rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • Dash of fresh grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinaigrette
  • Pepitas to top

Preparation

  1. Smoke the pumpkin following the directions for your smoker or grill (It took about 45 minutes to cook one on the Orion Cooker).
  2. Cool and scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add oil and shallot and cook for a couple minutes, then add garlic and herbs and cook until soft. (If more moisture is needed add a splash of the vegetable broth.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Add pumpkin, diced apple vegetable, broth and onion mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
  6. Return sauté pan, add salt, pepper, nutmeg and bring to simmer.
  7. Like wine, the longer the soup can sit to allow the flavors to blend together, the more integrated the soup will be.
  8. Add a splash of vinegar and top with pepitas and/or dollop of Greek yogurt if desired before serving.
  9. Pair with the The Three Places Pinot Noir or Volante Zinfandel.
Watch our video for this recipe here.

    Autumn Minestrone by Meredith Griffin

    Autumn Minestrone by Meredith Griffin

    Minestrone is usually made with whatever vegetables are in-season, so this example uses fall veggies, like winter squash and potatoes, plus a few frozen ones to add more depth and amp up the nutritional content. I’m recommending either the Merlot or Zinfandel to pair with the soup and some crusty warm bread!

    Ingredients to serve four people

    • 1 onion, peeled and diced
    • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced or grated
    • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into about 1-inch cubes
    • 1 potato, cut into about 1-inch cubes to match squash
    • 2 carrots peeled, and diced
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • ½ cup frozen corn
    • 1 cup frozen green beans
    • 1 ½ cups cannellini beans, cooked (it’s easiest to use one 15 oz can)
    • 3 cups roughly chopped spinach
    • 6 cups of unsalted chicken or vegetable broth
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp ground black pepper
    • Cooking oil
    • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

    Preparation

    1. Warm about 1 tbsp of oil in a large Dutch Oven (or other heavy-duty pot with a lid) over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, then add garlic and cook about another minute or two.
    2. Add squash, potatoes, carrots, oregano, broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
    3. Add frozen veggies, spinach and beans and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. It’s ready to eat now or leave it on low for a little while longer to allow all the flavors marry together.
    4. Uncork the wine, ladle the soup into bowls and grate some fresh Parmigiano Reggiano over the top

    *I’ve also added orzo or brown rice to this soup to make it a little more filling.

     Why these wines

    This soup has a lot of texture with the beans and variety of veggies in it, which also adds more complex flavors. The butternut squash and potatoes give it a rich texture without adding fat, but this richness means it will hold up to medium body, complex wines lines Zinfandel and Merlot.

    Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash by Meredith Griffin

    Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash by Meredith Griffin

    This recipe has evolved into what it is today over several years of tinkering with it.

    The first time I made this, it was, well let’s say very bland that even my mom and dad were unenthused, and they tend to enjoy most things I make. It’s perfect for a crisp autumn evening because it’s hearty enough to satisfy, but still nutritious! On a chilly night, I’m pairing it with the Three Places Pinot Noir, but if you’re not ready for a red I think it will also pair nicely with the Stormy Edges Chenin Blanc-Viognier White Blend.

    Ingredients for two people

    • 1 large acorn squash, halved and seeds scooped out
    • ½ lb ground turkey
    • ¼ cup diced onion
    • ¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
    • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
    • Olive oil
    • Assorted dried or fresh herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano (if using fresh, you’ll want about 1tbsp of mixed herbs diced and if using dry about 2 tsp of mixed herbs)
    • Salt and pepper
    Preparation
    1. Pre-heat oven to 425°.
    2. Spray flesh side of acorn squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
    3. Cook squash flesh side down for about 30mins or until fork tender (*see notes)
    4. Once the squash is cooked, remove from the oven and let cool until able to handle.
    5. While squash cools, heat a sauté pan over med-high heat, add about 1 tsp oil and then add the onions. Cook until onions have softened (**see notes).
    6. Then add mixed herbs and ground turkey. Using a wooden utensil, break up the turkey as it cooks and cook thoroughly until meat is browned (about 10-15 mins).
    7. While turkey is cooking, use a spoon to remove some of the flesh from inside the acorn squash and place in a bowl. Be sure to leave some flesh so the squash doesn’t flatten.
    8. Break up the squash with a fork and then add cooked turkey mixture to squash and combine thoroughly. Add about half of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, toasted chopped pecans and salt and pepper to taste.
    9. Divide the mixture back into each half of the squash shells and top with the remaining grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
    10. Return to oven for about 5-7minutes while you uncork the wine and pour into glasses.
    Notes
    *The acorn squash can also be cooked in the microwave. Cook flesh skin down in a microwave-safe dish with about a tbsp of water in the dish for about 10 minutes or until fork tender.
    **If while cooking the onions, more liquid is needed added 1tbsp of unsalted chicken broth or water as needed.

    Why these wines

    Acorn squash is not as sweet as some of the other winter squash varieties and absorbs any added flavorings and seasonings very well. Turkey can lack depth of the flavor and needs the boost provided from the sauteed onions, herbs and cheese. So while this dish is flavorful, it is not bold or overpowering. Thus, the wine to mirror it needs to be lighter and delicate, like Pinot Noir.