01 November 2016

Making the pumpkin soup

Before you even start preparing the pumpkin and other vegetables for the soup pot, you need to make sure you have a couple of liters (quarts) of good hot chicken broth at the ready. One way to do that is to poach a chicken in water for 30 to 40 minutes. Or buy broth at the supermarket.


PUMPKIN Cut the pumpkin or other winter squash into big chunks that are easy to work with, because you need to trim off and discard the skin, as well as the fibrous pulp in the middle. You can of course save and roast the pumpkin seeds.

I had 600 grams, or just less than a pound and a half of pumpkin for the soup.

Cut the chunks of pumpkin into, say, finger-size pieces, a little like french fries.

ONIONS Also slice two or three onions (and optionally, some garlic) and cook them in the soup pot in oil or melted butter until they are tender. Season the onions with salt, black pepper, and add pinches of allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and (if you have it) fenugreek. The spices are your choice. Just a little curry powder would be good, or just salt and pepper.


POTATOES As the onions are cooking, peel and cut up three or four potatoes. The pieces of potato should be approximately the same size as the pieces of pumpkin so that everything will cook evenly. I think the amount of potato I had was about 1½ cups.

BROTH When the onions are very tender, add the pumpkin and potatoes to the pot and stir everything together. Let it cook, stirring, for five minutes on medium heat, so that the vegetables are coated in the onion-flavored oil or butter. Then pour on enough hot chicken broth to cover the vegetables. You can make the soup as thick or as thin as you like. Add water as needed.

MILK When the vegetables are just about cooked and tender — it takes 15 or 20 minutes — add a cup or so of milk (or a smaller amount of cream) to the soup to make the broth creamy white. Taste it for salt. I actually added a tablespoon of sugar to the soup at this point. Do it if you think the pumpkin hasn't sweetened the broth enough.

CHICKEN Finally, and optionally, add the shredded meat of half a poached or roasted chicken.


If you don't want chicken in the pumpkin soup, just leave it out, or substitute flaked cooked fish, cooked shrimp, or tofu. When the pumpkin and potato pieces are very tender and starting to fall apart, the soup is ready. Serve with fresh herbs if you have any — basil, cilantro, parsley, etc. Here's a link to yesterday's post.

10 comments:

  1. Wow, this looks really delicious -- I had just assumed you'd be making a purée of the pumpkin for the soup, so this was unexpected. Very nice. I wonder what constitutes a chowder... it seems to me that adding milk to a broth seems to be what chowder is. Do you think this might be considered a pumpkin chowder, Ken?

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    1. Well, New England clam chowder and corn chowder have milk and potatoes in them, so why not call this "pumpkin chowder"? However, Manhattan (NY) clam chowder and North Carolina clam chowder don't have any milk in the recipe. So I don't know. There isn't any category of soup called anything like "chowder" in France. They're just soupes.

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  2. Bisques and chowders are simply two types of thick soup; bisque is generally smooth while chowder is chunky. Both have a long history with seafood—the word chowder comes from the French word for the cauldron in which fishermen made their stew—but both words are used often used to describe non-seafood dishes as well.

    Thanks to google, I got an answer to chowder vs soup ..
    I always thought it was the milky base that made something chowder rather than the clear broth of soup.

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    1. Well coastal N.C. clam chowder has no cream. Just clams, broth, onions, and potatoes. And it is some kind of good.

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  3. The basil looks pretty on top. Thanks for the recipe !

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  4. Looks delicious! Thanks for the instructions!

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    1. Just a description of what I did. And it worked! Always a nice surprise.

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  5. That looks delicious, and I'm thinking it would work with butternut squash as well. Curiously enough, I have a butternut squash in the kitchen right now . . .

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    1. I'm sure it would be delicious with butternut squash, and we have about a dozen of them on hand, out in the garden. The soup without the chicken would also be good if you blended up the pumpkin, potato, and onion at the end to turn it into a creamy potage.

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