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Fall Harvest Soup

In case you haven’t figured it out after reading my last two columns (baked goods made with pumpkin, as well as with apples), I am quite fond of the flavors of the season. And it doesn’t stop at desserts. When it comes to recipes containing either pumpkin or apple I’m on board to give them a try, too. Happily, I’ve found some main course keepers, including a few appealing soups, perfect for chasing the chills. A steaming bowl of soup accompanied by freshly baked bread, rolls or muffins is a satisfying meal, anytime.

Loaded with chunks of tender chicken, pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes and seasoned with pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin-chicken stew is not only warm and hearty, but can be ready to serve in about 45 minutes.

Even quicker is cabbage, sausage and apple soup, thanks to packaged coleslaw mix and fully-cooked smoked sausage. Chopped apples give the soup a wonderful sweet-tartness. Serve with pumpernickel muffins for a real taste treat.

Pumpkin-Chicken Stew

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. pepper

1-pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 T. vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups 1-inch cubes fresh pumpkin or Hubbard squash

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

3 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 (16-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 (14.5-ounce) can clear chicken broth

Directions: In shallow dish combine flour, salt, paprika and pepper. Dredge chicken in the flour mixture. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute chicken in oil 8 to 10 minutes till no longer pink in center. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or till vegetables are tender. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired. Serves 4.

Cabbage, Sausage and Apple Soup

2 T. butter

3 cups packaged coleslaw mix (in grocer’s produce section)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 tsp. caraway seed

4 cups low salt chicken broth

1/2 pound fully cooked smoked sausage, cubed

2 medium (2 cups) unpeeled apples, cored and chopped

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions: In Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add coleslaw mix, onion, celery and caraway seed. Cook 5 to 8 minutes or till vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook, uncovered, about 20 minutes till heated thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Serves 6. Serve with Pumpernickel Muffins (recipe below.)

Pumpernickel Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup rye flour

1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tsps. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup raisins, optional

1/2 tsp. caraway seed

1 1/4 cups buttermilk or substitute milk plus 4 teaspoons vinegar to make 1 1/4 cups

1/4 cup oil

1 T. molasses

1 egg, beaten

Directions: Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Grease bottoms only of 12 regular-sized muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In medium bowl, whisk together both flours, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, raisins and caraway seeds.

In small bowl combine buttermilk, oil, molasses and egg. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just till dry ingredients are moistened. Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 minute then remove from pan. Serve warm with butter. Makes 12 muffins.

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