Brie, Ham and Pear Panini with Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

In my mind, there is nothing comfier after a long, crazy day than sitting down in front of the television and having a soup and sandwich supper while watching Jeopardy. Of course, you must only do this dressed in your pajamas and fuzzy slippers. And, you must use TV trays. When I was little, enjoying a meal this way was always such a treat for me. Now that I’m a grown up, I still view it as a bit of a guilty pleasure.

As my husband, daughter and I sit in front of our trays, I can close my eyes and feel the nostalgia wash over me. It is so easy. We eat and talk and laugh, as we each try to be the first to shout out the Jeopardy answers. I hope that when my sweet child is all grown up, she will remember nights like this with the same fondness and warmth that I do.

While soup and sandwiches can be a quick and easy fix for dinner, they don’t have to be humdrum. In fact, my “Go To” meal for this week is anything but. This spicy pumpkin soup is a snap to make, but one smooth, velvety taste will prove that it’s not ordinary. You can cut and chunk a whole pumpkin yourself, but I was able to cut down on the prep and clean-up time by using pre-cut pumpkin from the the produce section of my grocery store. If you can find it, try it. It really is a time saver and the taste isn’t compromised. From start to finish, this dish took about thirty minutes to prepare.

These brie, ham and pear panini are also a breeze to prepare and they are simply fabulous! Each bite is a harmonious marriage of sweet, salty and creamy. I used my trusty Griddler to get a nice pressed panini. Any other electric grill will give you the same results. If you don’t have an electric grill, you can also make this sandwich in a regular skillet. Just press down on it using a pot lid with a smaller circumference than your skillet. However you do it, in less than ten minutes, your inner gourmand will be thanking you!

Spicy Pumpkin Soup
2 tbsp. butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 lbs. fresh pumpkin cubes
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Saute onion and apple for about 2 minutes. Add cumin and paprika and continue to saute until soft (about 5 minutes).

Add pumpkin and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium. Simmer, covered, until pumpkin is tender, about 10 minutes.

Transfer in batches to a food processor and puree until smooth.

Pour the soup back into the sauce pan and stir in the cream. Heat through and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve.
Brie, Ham & Pear Panini with Apricot Honey Mustard Sauce

1 loaf crusty French or Cuban bread
1 large wedge of brie, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
1 pear, cored and thinly sliced, lengthwise
1/2 lb sliced deli ham
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 tbsp honey mustard

Split bread in half. Set aside.

In a small bowl, heat preserves and mustard for 30 seconds in the microwave. Spread both sides of bread with sauce.

Layer ham, brie and pear slices on one side of bread. Cover with the other side of the bread and grill until heated through and cheese is melted.
Slice and serve.

Enjoy!

8 responses to Brie, Ham and Pear Panini with Spicy Pumpkin Soup

  1. On November 20, 2007 at 9:55pm, Tartelette said...

    I have a hard time with pumpkin soup but I will be happy to have a bite of that sandwich…looks and souds amazing!

  2. On November 20, 2007 at 11:32pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Thank you, Tartelette. I must admit, it is a pretty great sandwich!

  3. On November 24, 2007 at 11:00pm, John said...

    I was just gliding through your posts and have seen this cup that you use for your soup. I am looking for new cups at work and have found these in the Villeroy & Boch product brochure, they are from the Hotwave selection. My question is how are they to hold and drink from? It is always difficult buying from a catalog. Any help would be appreciated. Regards John

  4. On November 25, 2007 at 9:29am, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    John- I don’t use these cups for drinking every day- mostly for when I have guests. I use them a lot for creamy soups and puddings, etc. I just went and poured my coffee in one and it is not awkward at all to drink from. The handle is quite sturdy. You’re right, they are from Villeroy & Boch. They are so pretty. I couldn’t resist their graceful curves!

  5. On December 02, 2007 at 5:49am, coco said...

    Interesting Panini recipe. I have never tried fruits with ham in sandwiches.. I’m still a little skeptical, but what the heck, will give it a try the next time I’ve some ham at hand. :)

    I also love the cup! I want something like that too. I just looked up Villeroy & Boch for it, but I’m not sure if they’d ship it all the way here. :(

  6. On December 02, 2007 at 9:33am, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Coco- I have found that fruit goes really well with pork products. I have used apples, pears, peaches and apricots with success. You may be surprised.

    I bought the cups in a department store here. You may be able to find them where you are as well. Try Amazon. They have a household goods department.

  7. On December 02, 2007 at 1:58pm, coco said...

    I will be substituting the pork ham with chicken ham for religious reasons. Do you still think it’ll be worth a shot?

  8. On December 02, 2007 at 9:21pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Absolutely. If it is smoked or cured, it will probably taste very similar to regular ham. Besides, I have made this sandwich before with turkey breast and it is great with apples or pears too.

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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