Chef Flay, we started our journey together with your fabulous pumpkin bread. As a result, I thought it would be fitting to end with your pumpkin soup from your cookbook Bar Americain Cookbook published by Random House of Canada.
The steps in between have been wobbly. Your chicken pot pie was fantastic but super complicated. Your blue cheese buttermilk dressing bored me and your cinnamon crunch ice cream did not impress me. I decided to do one final test to bring us to a complete foodie circle.
Pumpkin Soup Recipe
I combined 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (since I did not have the ground Mexican cinnamon), 1/2 tsp ground allspice and 1/4 tsp of cloves (it was supposed to be 1/2 but I am sensitive to cloves).
I put one large can (equivalent to the 2 x 15-oz cans) of pumpkin puree, not pie filling, into a soup pot. I added 3 cups of chicken stock. In the intro it says you should really use homemade vegetable stock but the ingredients included chicken so that is what I focused on. I whisked the two together and brought to a simmer over medium heat.
I added the spices, 3 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp pure maple syrup. I simmered for around 15 minutes. You were supposed to remove from heat and whisk in this cranberry-maple creme fraiche but I just added sour cream because I used all my maple syrup in the soup.
So, it was not very good. Reg said it tasted like a melted pumpkin pie and he was right. Perhaps using the creme fraiche would have made it taste better but I have no way of knowing. I doubt it would have dramatically changed the texture which I think bothered us the most. I would have preferred to have some onion, carrots and celery in there to give the soup some real body. This way it was kind of liquid-y mush.
Righting a Wrong Take 1
In an attempt to make up for not making it exactly like Chef Flay instructed I decided to make apple dumplings for the soup. Kind of like large fruit-filled noodles on a pumpkin sauce. That was my idea.
I filled a wonton with the minced apple cranberry filling.
Glued the seams together with water.
Sauteed the bottoms in canola oil and butter until nice and brown.
Warmed up the soup. It does look like pumpkin pie filling, doesn’t it?
I released the dumplings using pineapple juice and covered to steam the dumplings.
I added some sour cream. We ate it again. Nope. Didn’t like it. This was just too out there for Reg. Me? I just don’t think I like pumpkin soup.
Righting a Wrong Take 2
I was determined not to let this soup go to waste so I used it to make pumpkin pancakes. I had frozen small amounts of the soup in plastic containers and let one thaw overnight.
The pancakes tasted good but they were so moist in the middle, they tasted undercooked even when they weren’t.
Bobby Flay, I don’t know what went so wrong. Perhaps you are right and the creme fraiche would have taken this soup over the edge. Had I not had other issues with your recipes, I would believe that. You hit a home run with your pumpkin loaf but the soup? Not so much. I thought there would be heat, something so much more complex to the actual soup than there was.
I have enjoyed your cookbook and reading about your passion for American cuisine. I have no doubt there are huge winner recipes in this cookbook, perhaps I just have not discovered them yet. I can not conclude by giving a review. This book has been too much of a foodie enigma. Perhaps I will get back to it again in the summer when fresh local foods are readily available and I will try making your famous barbecue sauce when the sun is warm.
Right now though, I put your cookbook on my book case until then… confused…