Filed under: Cooking, Gardening | Tags: gardening, Memphis, Pumpkins, Recipes, Urban Ag
A month or so ago I wrote a few posts about winter squashes – specifically pumpkins – and what you could do with these beauties. The initial post about processing the pumpkin is here. We took a free pumpkin and made a series of dishes with it. One was, of course, pumpkin pie. But next we made a fantastic pumpkin soup.
A little over a year ago, my wife and I attended a conference put on by our friends at Englewood Christian Church, called “A Rooted People“. It concerned “the church, place, and agriculture in an urban world”. There were some great sessions, no doubt. But one of the pleasures of the conference was the food. The church community provided all the meals from as much locally grown and sourced ingredients as possible (the church sponsors a fantastic community garden, and many members raise chickens, provide eggs, and raise bees). The two things I remember most were persimmon pudding and squash soup. It was the first time I had eaten squash soup and it was wonderful. So when a big, free, pumpkin showed up at the house, I went looking for a recipe.
What I found was a terrific – very similar – recipe from All Recipes. You can look it up – I won’t list it here. But I will list a few changes we made to suit our tastes.
First of all, the ingredient list calls for 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Bump that up. Give it at least 1 full teaspoon.
Second, substitute the 1/4 teaspoon of pepper for white pepper. Who wants black specs in their creamy orange soup? Plus white pepper is a finer ground, which suits my texture sensitivity.
Third, thicken your soup by using a 12 oz. can of condensed milk and 4 oz. of half-and-half instead of 2 cups of milk.
Fourth – not necessarily a change, but a recommendation: use sweet yellow onion instead of white.
Fifth (it seems this list is getting long), we use our own chicken broth instead of canned chicken broth. These days we cook enough whole chickens that we can make a lot of chicken broth. It’s a much richer flavor than the bland stuff you buy in the can.
Last, I suppose, would be a substitution on the parsley. We grow a lot of cilantro (for our home-made guacamole), so we used cilantro to garnish the final dish instead of parsley.
It’s a fantastic soup. Everything I hoped it would be. And since our original batch, we’ve made a few more using butternut squash rather than pumpkin. The butternut is a bit sweeter, but still very good, and butternut is easier to get once Halloween is over.
And just in case you’re keeping a tally: That’s two pumpkin pies and a pot of soup big enough to feed eight people, all from one medium pumpkin. And there’s one more dish coming.
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