“Oh yuck. I hate pumpkin.”
Did you really just say that? My friend, my friend — pumpkin is your buddy. The canned stuff is cheap, and the ingredients list is short. Here, I’ll read you the list off of a can I grabbed from the pantry:
Honestly, you can’t get much better than that. And if you decide to grow pumpkins for consumption (get sugar pumpkins, not the giant watery things you carve and let rot on the porch), they thrive on neglect. Toss out the seeds into the soil and go inside a read a book and knit socks throughout the summer. In the fall, wander through the foliage and pick up the harvest.
Okay, so maybe it’s not quite that labor-free, but believe me, it’s easier than growing strawberries.
This soup happened because the Son and Heir prepared a pumpkin from our garden and he kept nagging me to use the product of his efforts.
How to Prepare Pumpkin from an Actual Pumpkin
(To prepare a real pumpkin to eat: break off the stem; slice the pumpkin in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and stringy stuff. Clean the stringy stuff off the seeds so that you can roast them later. Cut each half into three wedges or so; arrange them on a baking sheet or in a 9 x 13 pan — you may need more than one — facedown. Add 1/2 cup water to cover the bottom and bake, uncovered at 385 degrees until you can puncture the skin easily with a fork and the flesh is soft. This averages around 45 minutes, but check beforehand, and feel free to cook longer. Peel; mash the meat smooth and use as if it were canned. Toss the cleaned seeds with a little oil to coat; salt lightly; bake on a baking sheet — 325 degrees — stirring every 10 minutes until they’re golden brown.)
Okay, let’s make soup:
5-Ingredient Pumpkin Soup — serves 2-4 — (this stuff is pretty filling)
4-6 slices bacon, chopped or diced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 – 3 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin (a 15-ounce can of this holds about 2 cups; a 29-ounce can holds about three and a half cups — the amount is flexible, and the more you put in just makes more soup)
2 – 3 1/2 cups milk (use the same amount of milk that you use pumpkin)
Salt to taste
2 Teaspoons commercial curry powder or turmeric
1 Tablespoon chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon
(Did I cheat? Is that three extra ingredients? They’re optional, for flavoring, and indeed, you can add any flavorings you’ve got hanging around in the cupboard that look like they’ll work — dried or fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme, and/or oregano would go well with this — just don’t add the curry powder)
In a three-quart or larger saucepan, saute the bacon over medium heat for five minutes until is starts to cook. Add the oil and chopped onion and saute, stirring everything around now and then, for ten more minutes or until the bacon starts to brown.
Stir together the pumpkin and milk (and salt, spices, and bouillon, if using) to a smooth consistency and add to the bacon mixture. Turn the heat down to a low medium and heat until hot, stirring now and then to keep it from sticking.
How do you eat this? Joyfully, with whoever is in the house with you, around a table with no TV or computer screen in sight. Read my article, The Simple Life: Eat Together, for ideas.
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