It’s that time of year when you know spring is ‘springing’ and you are not quite sure when it might “stick”
I tend to cook seasonally – there are just some big No’s in our house. Once the weather warms there won’t be another pot of chili or stew til that first frost hits again sometime in October. It can be a problem in September when the Colts kick off and it is still humid and 100 and it seems like you ‘need’ some chili, but that would be a huge exception.
So now that it’s March and we actually have a 70 degree day in our weekly forecast – it’s time to do one last pot of all the soups and stews that won’t be on the rotation again until Autumn.
Pumpkin Soup is one of our most favorites. This year though my “multi-tasking” and being super busy in late October and early November interfered with the number of times we were able to have it. We buy several small pie pumpkins at the Orchard in the fall. I then use them as porch decorations til we get around to eating and/or freezing them. Unfortunately this year at some point while I was off at one of my two Disney trips the Indiana freeze got them and they molded right there on the porch. Uggg. The orchard is closed by November. So – we have had more Butternut squash soup this year than Pumpkin. Which only gives us something more to look forward to next fall, right?
I had never had pumpkin soup til I lived in Australia. Back in the late 80s when the world seemed such a smaller place – pumpkin to us in America was sweet (and orange!) and to the Aussies a savory side served with a Roast or mashed like potatoes or pureed in a soup (and green). Now – we both do both – and each October my Facebook is filled with posts from the Aussie sides debating if Jack-o-laterns and all things American are overtaking their culture. I am not going to lie – I did love it when each country had it’s own unique things. But pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup are just too great to keep to ‘ourselves,’ Right?
Although I still cringe when I remember our first Thanksgiving and being mocked by the grocery store guys as we asked if there was ANY canned pumpkin. We knew the word was tinned. They mocked the words, our question and our accent. We bought the smallest orange pumpkins we could find and peeled them with a potato peeler. No cranberries, No marshmallows, No sweet potatoes and our crescent rolls did not come from a can!
I don’t use any sort of recipe for my pumpkin soup, because I learned to make it from friends who learned from their moms – and they didn’t have a recipe. It’s so super simple, who needs one? Just saute a bunch of mushrooms in some olive oil or butter til they are tender. Dump in a bunch of peeled, cut up pumpkin (you can can use butternut or acorn squash, but it is not quite as good, lol) and boil it all in Chicken Broth til it’s nice and tender. Puree it with a hand blender. You can either stir in some cream or serve it as is and add a dollop of sour cream.
I learned to make this in 1989. I don’t know that I actually knew anyone who was a vegetarian or dairy free. I am 100% certain that I did not know a vegan. (Have you seen the latest Jonas Brother song “Been to the Year 2019” with all the kinds of milk – my 1989 self would roll my eyes that I could watch the list of all the kinds of milk on my phone in my hand in my car…….) If you need to make any substitions – I am pretty sure you can. American Bacon rules them all – so you can feel free to crush some on top if you choose to add some kind of meat to your soup. But, just a touch! In our bowl you can see our Black Lava Salt from Iceland. It is just what I never knew our soup needed!
This is one of my go to bread recipes. Like the vast majority of recipes I have written down there are very little instructions. If you use a bread machine, use the dough setting and just throw it all in as is. I sometimes use my Kitchen Aid – so mix it with the dough hook – let rise 30 minutes. With both methods you then take it out and shape it.
It is the bread shown above. You can make one big loaf, but when it is just the 2 of us eating I make 2 small (which is what I did this night). It lasts a little longer for leftovers if one loaf isn’t cut. Once you shape the loaves then let rise til double and bake.