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Elusive pumpkin-apple soup. Help me replicate!

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This might sound funny, but I need help replicating a dish that I actually made myself for the first time. A few weeks ago I cooked a pumpkin apple soup just because I had those ingredients at hand and needed a quick dinner. It was improvisational. The apples were Honeycrisp, but because they were on the old side they were less juicy than usual, which I think played in my favor (and they had been sliced and kept in the fridge for two days before I used them). The pumpkin puree came in a carton from Whole Foods. I sauteed the apples in a soup pot and because I got distracted they burned a little, which actually added an amazing caramelized and intense flavor. I added the pumpkin, a little chicken broth, simmered for 15 minutes and blended with white pepper and powdered ginger. It tasted amazing!
I tried to replicate it for Thanksgiving but it didn't come out as good. I caramelized the apples for as long as I could but the taste was diluted.

Originally I had used:
2 apples (Honeycrisp)
1/2 carton of pumpkin
1 small (8oz) container of chicken broth.

Second time around:
6 apples (Honeycrisp)
1 large (double-size) can of Libby pumpkin
1 large container of chicken broth

What would you change to make the soup taste more apple-y and caramel-y? Would a different type of apple work better? Which one? And would you change something in the preparation?

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  1. Maybe toss the apple slices in whatever fat you originally used, then roast them a little first?

    7 Replies
    1. re: CuriousCat

      I agree.
      Also taste both the pumpkins. I bet they do not taste the same.i don't think Libby's pumpkin tastes good.
      I would also add caramelized some onions to up the taste.

      1. re: magiesmom

        I would also suspect the pumpkin, there can be a big difference between brands.
        In addition to roasting the apples i would "sautee" the pumpkin in the pot a bit, until it looks more dry to help concentrate the flavor.
        A splash of apple cider vinegar will help brighten it

          1. re: Ttrockwood

            Yes, definitely. The Libby brand was much waterier than the first brand I used and I think it diluted the flavor. Great ideas about sauteeing the pumpkin and the cider vinegar!

        1. re: CuriousCat

          Roasting is a wonderful idea! I think that will help me get the intense apple flavor I got the first time around.

          1. re: kmanihot

            you also say the apples had been pre-sliced and stored in the fridge? if you bought them sliced they are doused in a solution to keep them from browning. if you had sliced them, they were oxidizing and concentrating the sugar as they were in fact decaying.

            if it was the latter, you could slice some apples, toss with a wee bit of brown sugar and butter and broil before starting the soup.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              I had sliced them myself for another use, then changed my mind, so yes, they were decaying in my fridge!!! Great insight, and I will definitely try the brown sugar/butter broiling.