I’d been hankering to make Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika ever since I read Elise’s post on Simply Recipes the other day. It sounded and looked so wonderful. Silky, smoky and spicy, it looked like a real winner. I have limited experience working with fresh pumpkin, mostly because it isn’t readily available in my area. I’m not talking about those big, fat jack-o-lantern pumpkins, mind you, but the smaller sugar pumpkins that are meant for cooking. I’ve been seeing truckloads of the jack-o-lantern variety in the stores for weeks. I don’t really get that. In this ninety degree Florida heat, a carved jack-o-lantern lasts about five days before it starts to look like a Salvador Dali painting. Why would anyone buy one a whole month before Halloween? Anyway, I was resigned to either substitute butternut squash or use canned pumpkin for my soup. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I found beautiful little fresh sugar pumpkins at my supermarket today.
My next challenge was deciding what else I should make to go with the soup. I meandered on over to the meat department, hoping to get inspired. All of a sudden, I got a whiff of something pretty delicious. I followed my nose to investigate. I found the Publix Apron’s lady cooking away. For those of you who don’t know, Publix Super Markets has a division called Apron’s Simple Meals Program. Publix created this program to help keep their busy customers supplied with quick and easy recipes that can be prepared with a minimum of fuss. There are hundreds of recipes, each printed on cards with photos, a shopping list and step by step instructions. All of the ingredients for each featured recipe are kept together in one spot for even more convenience. The cards are free, and you can buy one of their special binders to keep them in. Several times a week, you can find the Apron’s chefs cooking up a storm in various Publix stores. I have gotten some terrific recipes from them. No, I don’t work for Publix (I swear!). I do really like to shop there, though…..especially at lunch time!
Today, the featured recipe was Pecan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Georgia Chutney. I tasted some and it was delicious. I knew immediately that this was just the thing to serve with my pumpkin soup. I grabbed the rest of my ingredients and went home to get started.
All of these recipes were pretty easy to make, and they were all really tasty. The soup was like velvet on a spoon! The pork tenderloin was crusted with a mixture of chopped pecans, brown sugar and french-fried onions. I know it sounds a bit weird, but it works. The brown sugar kind of caramelized in the oven and combined with the nuts and the onions to form a sticky, crunchy crust. The Georgia Chutney was made with frozen peaches, brown sugar and jarred vidalia onion relish. It was a really interesting combination. I added a little curry powder to punch it up a little. You could also add some dried apricots, cherries or raisins to this and I think it would be even better.
Since Elise did a comprehensive job with the soup recipe, I won’t duplicate it here. You can follow the link above for that recipe. I have provided the other recipes below. All in all, this was a menu I would definitely make again. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. There was a little bonus in making that soup.
Chili-Lime Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!
Pecan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Adapted from Apron’s Simple Meals
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup French-fried onions
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 pork tenderloins (about 2 lb)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
Place pecans, onions, and sugar in food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Place mixture on a plate.
Season pork with salt and pepper.
Roll pork in pecan mixture until well coated and place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Coat top of tenderloins with cooking spray.
Bake 25–30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.
Let pork stand 5 minutes. Then cut into 1-inch-thick slices.
Top with Georgia Chutney (recipe below) and serve.
Adapted from Apron’s Simple Meals
2 cups frozen sliced peaches
1 cup sweet Vidalia onions/peppers relish
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp curry powder
Cut peaches into bite-size pieces
Combine with remaining ingredients in medium saucepan.
Cover and bring to a boil on medium-low heat.
Cook 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
Serve over pork slices and enjoy!