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Warm the Soul

Simmer up and make one of these homemade soups and bread on a cool day

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

2½ lbs pumpkin or butternut squash halved and seeded or (½ and ½ to have both)

4-5 garlic cloves, unpeeled

Avocado oil spray

1 sweet onion, peeled and diced

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

3 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium veggie broth

Pumpkin seeds and fresh cream to top (optional) 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel and cut the pumpkin into 2-inch pieces and place them on the prepared baking tray, together with the garlic cloves.

Season with salt and pepper, and lightly spray with avocado oil to coat, then spread into a single layer.

Place the tray on the middle rack of the oven, and roast until pumpkin is fork-tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prep the remaining veggies. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add onion, carrots, celery and sauté until softened, about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the smoked paprika, roasted pumpkin, and garlic (pop it out from the skins).

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil, then continue to cook for a few minutes or so.

Take it off the heat, and puree with an immersion blender until smooth.

Fresh Green Pea Soup

Ingredients:

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)

1 cup chopped yellow onion

4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

5 cups freshly shelled peas or 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen peas

2/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed

2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup creme fraiche

1/2 cup freshly chopped chives

Garlic croutons, for serving.

Directions:

Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and onion, and cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is tender. Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the peas are tender. (Frozen peas will take only 3 minutes.) Off the heat, add the mint, salt, and pepper.

Puree the soup in batches: place 1 cup of soup in a blender, place the lid on top, and puree on low speed. With the blender still running, open the vent hole in the lid and slowly add more soup until the blender is three-quarters full. Pour the soup into a large bowl and repeat until all the soup is pureed. Whisk in the creme fraiche and chives and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with garlic croutons.

Homemade Artisan Bread – Perfect for Dipping in Soup

Ingredients

3 1/4 cups (about 430g) bread flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and pan

2 tsp (about 6g) instant yeast

2 tsp coarse salt (see note)

1 1/2 cups (360ml) water, close to room temperature at about 70°F (21°C)

Instructions

In a large ungreased mixing bowl, whisk the flour, yeast, and salt together. Pour in the water and gently mix together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The dough will seem dry but keep working it until all the flour is moistened. If needed, use your hands to work the dough ingredients together. The dough will be sticky. Shape into a ball in the bowl as best you can.

Keeping the dough in the bowl, cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and set on the counter at room temperature (honestly any normal room temperature is fine!). Allow to rise for 2-3 hours. The dough will just about double in size, stick to the sides of the bowl, and have a lot of air bubbles.

You can continue with the next step immediately, but for absolute best flavor and texture, I strongly recommend letting this risen dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.

Lightly dust a large nonstick baking sheet (with or without rims and make sure it’s nonstick) with flour and/or cornmeal. Turn the cold dough out onto a floured work surface. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut dough in half. Some air bubbles will deflate as you work with it. Place dough halves on prepared baking sheet. Using floured hands, shape into 2 long loaves about 9×3 inches each (doesn’t have to be exact) about 3 inches apart. Loosely cover and allow to rest for 45 minutes. You will bake the dough on this prepared baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 475°F

When ready to bake, use a bread lame to score the bread loaves with 3 slashes, about 1/2 inch deep. If the shaped loaves flattened out during the 45 minutes, use floured hands to narrow them out along the sides again.

Place the shaped and scored dough (on the flour/cornmeal dusted pan) in the preheated oven on the center rack. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Gently tap the loaves; if they sound hollow, the bread is done. For a more accurate test of doneness, the bread is done when an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 195°F.

Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Store leftovers loosely covered at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

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