Pumpkin~Parmigiano Soup with Grilled Cheddar & Apple Sandwiches


Pumpkin~Parmigiano Soup  |  Grilled Cheddar & Apple Sandwiches with Dijon on Sourdough Bread

Intro Collage


Have you ever noticed the correlation between how wonderful a weekend was and how, well, “non-wonderfully” the following Monday manifests itself?  I did…today.  Nothing disastrous, mind you, but overwhelming…not because of an overall importance to mankind but rather a result of complete inattention and utter denial for 2-3 days.  A multitude of life’s little details…holiday plans, birthdays, doctor’s appointments, horse shows, upcoming travel, passport verifications {not for any of us but for one of our horses}, college applications & essays, etc., etc., etc.,…which will rain down upon this little family in the next 30 days, all put aside in favor of a few days of football games, horseback riding, walks by the ocean, leisurely breakfasts & coffee on the deck, dinner & a movie in the evenings.  But, come Monday, the house empties out and in the silence I am left to face those tasks that were so easily swept under the proverbial “rug” on Friday when Monday was nowhere in sight.  For one brief moment, after returning from school drop-off this morning, I considered hiding in the kitchen and baking a pie.

Admittedly, I enjoy dinner and its preparation more so than some with it becoming the major focus on certain days {like those incredible meatballs we enjoyed Friday night!} but today was not one of those days.  Tonight’s dinner was a familiar destination but one whose journey could not take up the better part of my day.  On these days I find myself employing the aid of one of the best inventions in the modern kitchen…the slow-cooker.  Inspired by the preponderance of pumpkin recipes currently floating around the Internet, I settled on this seasonal favorite of ours.  This soup celebrates the savory side of pumpkin rather than the sweet.


Smooth {both in texture and in taste} pumpkin purée is added to a sauté of onions and garlic and spiced with a bit of white pepper and freshly ground nutmeg.  The mixture is then soaked and slowly simmered in a bath of rich homemade chicken stock.  Note:  the quality of the chicken stock you use will directly impact the quality of the finished soup.  A rich homemade stock will produce a soup with a wonderfully deep flavor but a good prepared stock {preferably a base such as Better Than Bouillon} can also serve you well but may involve some additional seasonings in the end.  Just before serving, freshly grated Parmigiano cheese is stirred into the soup, adding its nutty flavor and producing a soup with a velvet~like consistency.  Heavy cream can also be added in the final stages if a thicker soup is desired but more often than not we skip this addition.

Pumpkin~Parmigiano Soup {adapted from Art of the Slow-Cooker, by Andrew Schloss}

  • 2 tablespoons rendered bacon drippings {or olive oil}
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 6-7 cloves garlic, peeled and pushed through a garlic press
  • 1, 28-ounce can, pure pumpkin
  • 2 quarts homemade chicken stock {good quality store-bought stock can be substituted}
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream {optional}
  • Fresh sage leaves for garnish {optional}
  1. In a skillet, heat the bacon drippings {or olive oil} over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until just beginning to soften.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the pumpkin, nutmeg, salt and pepper, stirring to mix thoroughly.  Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil.  Transfer mixture to a 5-6 quart slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or 6-8 hours on low.
  3. Whisk in cheese {and cream if using} and heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to combine.  Serve in individual bowls topped with a fresh sage leaf.


The classic combination of apples and cheese are featured in this simple sandwich.  Tart Granny Smith apples, as well as another seasonal favorite, red Honey Crisp apples, are sliced and, together with some shredded sharp cheddar {I used Cabot extra-sharp} are sandwiched in between slices of fresh sourdough bread dressed with a tangy, whole-grain Dijon mustard.  Note:  shredding the cheese, rather than using slices facilitates the melting process when grilled.

Sandwich 2 Collage

The sandwiches are then “grilled” in a hot skillet coated with melted butter and cooked until the cheese is sufficiently melted, oozing from within the sandwich creating crisp spots of browned cheese on the butter-toasted bread.


Our dinner this evening certainly wasn’t fancy but, after a very long Monday it was wonderful coming home to the smell of the pumpkin soup in the slow cooker.  The sandwiches were ready in minutes, leaving us plenty of time to relax and enjoy the evening.


K Initial

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