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First Flavors of Fall

Social media is starting to make me think, that perhaps it is an inherently female thing to love fall. I cannot count the number of women folk proclaiming their love for this loveliest of seasons all over the interweb.

 Like that silent internal clock that ticks away until one day BAM you're 30 and you can't think of anything but babies (or so I'm told) I think we ladies have another little timekeeper that starts sounding the alarm right around mid-September. It shouts excitedly in our ears "the holidays are coming!" and "it's snuggle time!" as the air chills and everything seems a little rosier.

Falling prey to such biological nudging, I couldn't help myself when I saw this awesome recipe for Light Mussel and Pumpkin Soup from Saveur. I made it and it was amazing!

See below for instructions. I combined it with this recipe from Emeril. Basically I followed the Saveur recipe with a few Emeril additions. I added the garlic from Emeril's recipe when sauteing the shallots. I used a cup of chicken broth instead of Saveur's suggested cup of water, and I added a splash of heavy cream at the end. The result was a yummy kind of chowder-esque concoction that reminded me of potato leek soup, with a seafood edge.  Oh p.s. I used a  Japanese Kabocha Squash per Saveur's suggestion.

Saveur Light Mussel & Pumpkin Soup

6 tbsp. butter
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
1 lb. mussels, cleaned
3 cups dry white wine
3-4 lbs. of pumpkin, seeded, peeled, and diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs parsley, chopped

1. Melt 2 tbsp. of the butter in a heavy-bottomed medium pot over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add mussels, wine, and 1 cup water; increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until mussels open, about 5 minutes. Strain mussels through a colander set over a medium bowl. Set broth aside. Remove mussels from their shells (discard any that don't open), and discard shells. Set mussels aside.
2. Melt remaining 4 tbsp. butter in same pot over medium heat. Add pumpkin, and cook, stirring often, until soft and lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Add reserved mussel broth, and simmer until pumpkin is very soft and broth thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
3. Working in batches, purée pumpkin in a blender until smooth. Return purée to pot over medium-low heat, add mussels, season to taste with salt and pepper, and heat until warm (do not boil). Serve in warmed soup bowls, and garnish with parsley