The pumpkin soup I had been planning all year for the potluck was a hit! The hardest part was growing the pumpkins. I started seedlings in February, and got some of them into the ground by March. The Cinderella pumpkin seedlings were transplanted a bit later in April. Both pumpkin patches had lots of compost that I made through the spring and summer of 2008 with horse manure from a friend, food waste from the local food bank and garden refuse. In the early spring, I cleaned out a friend's chicken coop, so the chicken manure was also added to the soil.
Now that I have shared the recipe for the compost and the soil, here's the recipe for the soup. I cooked the squash and made the broth the day before, prepared the tureen on the morning of the potluck and then did all the other stuff shortly before eating. I fully cooked the tureen two days later and it will take us another month to eat it all. That was one big pumpkin!
1 butternut squash
1 small eating-type pumpkin (I used Baby Pam)
1 Cinderella pumpkin
1 orange or red sweet pepper
2 red serrano peppers
1/2 cup raw walnuts
several green onions
several ribs celery
1 clove garlic
1 t coriander
Cut the squash and small pumpkin into pieces, remove the seeds for another use, and simmer in a large pan with 1/2 inch of water, covered, for 20 minutes. Let it cool gradually while you are doing everything else.
Soak the walnuts for several hours, and throw the soaking water into the compost pile.
Chop the bottom part of the leek, the white part of the onion, the bottom part of the celery, peppers and garlic, reserving the veggie tops, leaves and skins for broth. Saute the chopped veggies in olive oil until tender and let cool until they are easily handled.
Finely chop the veggie tops and leaves and put in a pan and cover with water, simmer for 5 minutes, cover and let cool for 15 minutes.
Strain the broth and add to a blender with the walnuts. Puree on high until smooth. Pour into a large pot.
Add the sauteed veggies to the blender and puree with additional water until they are smooth. Put the veggies through a food mill and add them to the large pot.
Scoop out the squash and small pumpkin pulp and put through the food mill and add it to the large pot. Add more water or broth until you get the desired consistency.
Toast the coriander seeds until they are fragrant and then grind with a mortar and pestle, and add to the pot. Season with salt to taste. Heat on simmer, stirring, until warm enough to serve.
Cut an opening in the top of the Cinderella pumpkin like for a Jack-o-lantern, scoop out the seeds and strings, put the lid back on and place on a large baking pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. This is enough to get rid of the raw taste but not enough to cause the pumpkin to cave in. The flesh of this pumpkin is not scooped out and used for the soup.
While the tureen is still warm, add the hot soup.
The tureen will store very well in the fridge with the lid on for a couple of days, and can then be fully cooked and used for even more soup. You can also toast all the pumpkin and squash seeds the next day as long as they are washed and dried well.
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