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No-Fuss Pumpkin Soup

Since the calendar says it's autumn, I say it's time . . . with a little help from the slow cooker.

I have a little confession to make: Even though it’s true that we have a farm, this year, we’ve had the least productive farm in its five-year history and at this very moment, we have absolutely nothing to harvest (aside from a shoddy selection of potted herbs).

Now, this was actually by design, as we finally accepted the fact that between the months of July and November, our lives are more than a little bit hectic. What’s more is that we (meaning, well, not me at all, but my husband and my dad) spent the last ten or so Saturdays putting up a whopping new greenhouse. This, along with our original greenhouse, will allow us to grow lots of wonderful things in the cooler months, when it’s actually somewhat pleasant to be outside. All of this is to say that I cannot claim to be picking anything from my garden and cooking it right now, though soon, I’ll have carrots, sweet potatoes, and greens galore.

Typically, at this time of year, we have a field full of pumpkins and butternut squash, and because I so miss this gorgeous display, I vow to take on the task again next fall. Though the thermometer has said otherwise this week, it is now, technically, autumn and thus, I’ve had a hankering for something pumpkin.

However, this was also one of our extra-frazzled weeks with my having jury duty and my daughter turning 10 on top of the typical mayhem (there’s been lots of goat-herding going on around here to boot). This meant that the only way in the world I was going to eat pumpkin was if it went directly from a can into the crock pot. Now, I like to do a lot of things the old fashioned way, like baking bread and . . . huh, maybe that’s really all – my point being that while it’s honorable to go to the trouble of gutting a pumpkin and baking it for use in say, pumpkin soup or pie, it’s really okay to use the canned stuff, especially if you have jury duty. Really.

So, in my quest to make this happen, I did a quick search on one of my favorite crock pot sites and tweaked the “Jamaican Pumpkin Soup” recipe just a bit. Here’s how it goes:

Crock Pot Pumpkin Soup

1 can pumpkin (15 oz.)

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup water

1 red onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 minced garlic cloves

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated or 1 tsp. powdered ginger

1 T maple syrup

2 tsp. kosher salt (or less depending on sodium content of your vegetable broth)

1 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Sour cream or plain yogurt, 1 T per family member (optional)

Directions

Combine all ingredients except for sour cream or yogurt in crock pot, cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Use a hand blender or transfer soup to standing blender and puree at least ¾ (I pureed it all). Serve with a tablespoon of sour cream or plain yogurt. Serves 6.

I paired this with a loaf of bread (which I, sadly, did not make). And, my friend, dinner was done.



robert September 30, 2011 at 02:56 PM
And, some mother or another would put a candle in it, and we were done.) It's a different world today, I had a stepdaughter who would download designs and carve as intricately as Rodin, which was super, since the adults could then have a martini break and roast the pumpkin seeds. Why this is so enchanting is a bit of a mystery to me, except as soon as the kitchen filled with that ineffable smell, well the house moved from being a house...into a home. And, at a certain midpoint, there would be this huge pile of actual pumpkin - the "meat" of the fruit, I guess you'd call it. And, I remember our host said, "and now, to the important part. Pumpkin Soup." Now, this was beyond my culinary abilities, but I remember - as this review details - certain scents and textures - who can not love pumpkin and nutmeg? - that made the season "real", somehow. We'd gather up the kids, hose off their big mess of pumpkingoop (giving the soup time to simmer) and sit down to eat. And, there was ...that moment. It was like watching an old "Charlie Brown" special. However savvy us urbanites are, the pumpkin soup brought us back...home. And, isn't that what the season is about?
robert September 30, 2011 at 03:10 PM
You know, this review revives so many memories of the season. Unlike the author, I am totally an urban - and, to tell the truth - highrise dweller - but we mark the seasons in the same way our more noble farm owners (I mean that sincerely) do. Pumpkin Soup - even saying it - sounds as seasonal and ennobling as "oysters" must have to M.F.K. Fisher, the last century's best food writer. Pumpkins, apples, Thanksgiving - it is the Proustian equivalent of true memory for all of us, even those of us who live in the steel and glass canyons of urban Georgia. Not too many years ago, (well, okay, some years ago) I remember making the requisite trip to Publix for the supermarket pumpkins that our various broods of kids wanted to carve. Now, carving pumpkins isn't exactly what I remembered as a kid, they have patterns, tools, all kinds of guides and so on. (We'd freestyle our carvings, and say "Look! I make a pumpkin face that looks like you, or a booger."
Lisa Lewis October 01, 2011 at 04:04 PM
I'm loving the image of the martini break while pumpkin seeds are a roastin'! (Though this would be unwise in my home because my husband once set fire to the seeds in the toaster oven!) We'll let our kids swim in the pumpkingoop in a few weeks when it's time for carving. Thanks for sharing your autumnal memories!
Lisa Lewis October 01, 2011 at 04:07 PM
Though we rural folk do cut corners (like the canned pumpkin) I shun the carving kits. We freestyle our jack-o-lanterns each year and they're always better (or more charming?) than what we'd get following a pattern -- kinda like home-made versus store-bought cards, I think.
Crystal Huskey October 04, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Thanks for this! I had pumpkin soup for the first time at Atlanta Bread Company a few years, and was obsessed with it. Then they went and got rid of it. Now I can make it myself, yay! This seems similar to ABCs.
Lisa Lewis October 04, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Yep, this is about as easy as it gets. I've just come across a pumpkin mac and cheese recipe, so I'll be popping open another can tonight!

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