Sweet apples and spices get blended into this creamy cheese soup that's served with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side.
- 1 cheese pumpkin, (2 butternut squash may be substituted)
- Olive oil, about 4 tablespoons
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped (or 3 medium carrots)
- 1 large onion, chopped (or 2 small onions)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg, to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 apples, Cortland or Honeycrisp, peeled and chopped
- 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Acacia honey
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 12-16 leaves sage
- 8 ounces deli-sliced yellow cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 2 tablespoons Fabanaise or mayo
- 8 slices good-quality white bread, such as Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse
- ½ cup grainy mustard
Preheat oven at 400˚F.
For soup, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, matte-side up. Halve the pumpkin and seed it, then wash and dry 1 cup seeds, discarding the rest of the inside stringy center and seeds. Dress the halved pumpkin with a little oil and salt, roast 35-40 minutes to tender, then cool and scoop flesh from pumpkin, reserving 2-3 cups of squash drippings as well.
In a soup pot, heat 1 tablespoons olive oil, a turn of the pan, add carrots and onions, season with salt, then add ginger, nutmeg, black and white pepper and saute to soften 7-8 minutes. Add apples and soften 3-5. Puree the squash and half the carrot, onion and apple mixture with half the stock at a time in a high-power blender, or puree the squash, all the carrot-apple mixture and stock with a stick blender. Add honey and adjust seasonings.
To toast seeds, dress with 2 tablespoons oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast to brown.
Melt butter over medium heat, and when it foams, add sage and crisp, remove to towel.
For sandwiches, combine the softened butter and Fabanaise or mayonnaise. Lightly spread on one side of the bread. On opposite side of 4 slices, spread grainy Dijon and make sandwiches of about 2 ounces of sliced cheddar each. Griddle sandwiches 6-7 minutes over medium heat, turning occasionally.
To serve, top soup with a drizzle of brown butter and top with sage leaves and toasted seeds, serve sandwiches cut corner to corner alongside.