A 100% Vegetarian Meal I Can Get On Board With

Thursday night, I got all dressed up (see evidence at left) to head over to my friend Anna’s place in Williamsburg for a girls’ dinner. The original plan was fish stew, but when a vegetarian friend joined in, Anna switched the menu to pumpkin and sage soup. I was skeptical that this would be a) tasty and/or b) filling enough to send me off into the freezing evening happily full.

It was delicious. And I went home more than happy, and more than full.

Recipe is below, but first I want to draw your attention to two great finds I made on the way over to Anna’s place (I arrived way early, so I killed a little time wandering around on Graham Avenue). The first is The Blue Stove, where I stopped for a cup of cider and discovered one of the most charming little pie shops I’ve ever seen.

The stove is a hand-me-down from owner Rachel’s grandmother, and the menu changes almost daily (I want very much to try their Chocolate Bourbon Cake and Plum Pie).

I didn’t buy a mini mousse pie, but I think that may have been a mistake. I’m going back soon (possibly today) to do a little taste-testing.

Second find: Honey & Hazel, where you’re guaranteed to find a unique gift for absolutely everyone on your list. In the Want For Myself category were these Nico & J Ostrich Feather Rings ($38). I don’t have any exciting plans for New Year’s, but if I did…hello!

Some other Honey & Hazel picks I love: Brass Pencil Necklace ($85); Jute Nautical Bookend ($45; I’ve mentioned it here before); Sun Jar ($40).

Soup after the jump!

Now, on to the soup. I’ve talked before about my struggles with nighttime photography…and my struggles with soup photography…so…sorry about pictures. But the soup is really, really good, so I recommend you give it a shot anyway!

Above, Anna, Julie & Lilit, plus soup.


What you need for soup:

3  tablespoon(s) butter
1   onion, chopped
1   carrot, chopped
1   rib celery, chopped
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups butternut squash or sweet potato, cubed
2  cup(s) canned pumpkin puree (from one 29-ounce can)
1/3 cup(s) dry white wine
1  tablespoon(s) dried sage
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 cup(s) water
2 1/2 cup(s) canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock (use vegetable stock if you’re going 100% vegetarian)
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground black pepper

What you do:

1. In a large pot, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, squash, and apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the pumpkin puree, wine, sage, and bay leaf. Add the water, broth, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer.

3. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Add 1 1/4 lbs diced ham (optional) and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaf.


Anna topped each portion of soup with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy cream that I fell completely in love with. In her words: “Apple cider cream basically consists of a carton of sour cream into which I whisked apple cider, honey, and cayenne pepper until it was smooth, tasted good and was thin enough to drizzle but not so thin that it wouldn’t float on top of the soup. So uh, an invention on the fly that can be easily recreated.”

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