Peter Peter Pumpkin Soup Eater

Pumpkin Soup is so 80s, especially when you serve it in its original format with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of chives and a twist or two of freshly ground pepper. While it might be considered a little bit simple, Pumpkin Soup still tastes just as good.

For me, Pumpkin Soup has a special place in my heart. My son not only eats pumpkin soup, he loves it! Like a love struck teenager, he can’t get enough of it. That’s great because pumpkin soup is very healthy. For me, however, it is a particular blessing because both of my kids are very poor eaters and usually have to be bribed, cajoled, tied to their seats and even then, they still don’t eat. The fact that their mother and their dog have both put on significant weight is testimony to pig-headed stubborn resistance. After all, somebody human or canine has to actually eat all the “fruits” of all our cooking projects. They even get picky about eating biscuits, cakes…even chocolate. My kids eating habits are just plain weird.

That said, I’m pretty sure that the kids have been eating more since the “learn to cook” project began. Well, they have been eating something. That in itself has been an improvement.

Finger licking good

Finger licking good

As I mentioned, our son’s favourite meal has always been Pumpkin Soup and yet I’ve never made it for him myself although we’ve bought it home-made by the local fruit shop. Actually, it was my mother who bought that. You know what grandparents are like when children don’t eat. She almost kidnapped the cook. She would have had this person chained up to my kitchen stove for the term of their natural life cooking pumpkin soup for her number 1 grandson if I hadn’t stepped in and insisted that our family couldn’t survive on pumpkin soup alone.

Anyway, Mister and I made our old-time family favourite Pumpkin Soup yesterday. Pumpkin Soup from scratch that had nothing to do with a tin. Nothing to do with a tin at all and I was so proud of us. Not only that. The two of us were working well together, which isn’t always the case. I feel like I’ve been running after this boy most of his life although now that he’s older, he’s become a lot easier to catch. That’s because he’s sitting perfectly still attached to some kind of electronic life form and he’s going nowhere.

While it’s great that my son loves pumpkin soup, it’s also helpful to know something about the pumpkin’s nutritional value and I found these pumpkin facts at: http://www.allaboutpumpkins.com/facts.html

Pumpkins are low in calories but high in fibre, low in sodium and their seeds are high in protein, iron, and the B vitamins.They are very high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant which converts into Vitamin A, which is important to maintain a healthy body. Researchers also believe that eating a diet rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers as well as delaying aging.

1 cup of cooked pumpkin flesh contains:

Calories: 49
Protein: 2 grams
Carbohydrate: 12 grams
Dietary Fibre: 3 grams
Calcium: 37 mg
Iron: 1.4 mg
Magnesium: 22 mg
Potassium: 564 mgZinc: 1 mg
Selenium: .50 mg
Vitamin C: 12 mg
Niacin: 1 mg
Folate: 21 mcg
Vitamin A: 2650 IU
Vitamin E: 3 mg

 

Our Pumpkin Soup Recipe is based on Margaret Fulton’s Cookbook first published in 1968 but my copy was reprinted in 1991. Actually, I think this might actually be my mother’s cookbook as she is the one who introduced me to this recipe. She used to make it. Memories…

Even a quick Google search will show you that the humble pumpkin soup has moved on since the 80s and 90s and has actually become rather exotic. There are a number of recipes for Roasted Pumpkin Soup and I might even try one of these. I’ve also had it served up sprinkled with coriander rather than chives. Jamie Oliver has at least 4 variations on this classic. There’s even one recipe where you serve it up with pumpkin seeds. That version seemed a bit interesting. After all, I thought the whole point was to keep the seeds out of the soup. Soon they’ll be adding flies and perhaps even the proverbial mouse to the soup. That would certainly be “a new interpretation of an old classic” but they’d probably want a special mouse for that dish….one which had only even eaten parmesan cheese perhaps…?!

Anyway, while so many chefs are intent on reinventing this great classic, I still love the original.

My kids are aged 10 and 8 and still need close assistance making the soup. My son aged 10 was able to cut but not peel the pumpkin and this was so much slower than doing it myself. I had to show him how to get the knife through the pumpkin and where to put his hands and apply pressure. It wasn’t an easy task. Our knives are probably not the sharpest but obviously there are concerns about having young children working with knives. You need to work out how to split this task between you and your kids.

The hotplate is another safety concern with this dish. Our son successfully fried the pumpkin without getting burned but I was supervising him and reminding him to watch burning his hands on the side of the pan when he turned the pumpkin over. He is able to fry a pancake and is used to using the stove under supervision but he has had couple of minor burns.

Mister diced the pumpkin himself under supervision.

Mister diced the pumpkin himself under supervision.

Classic Pumpkin Soup (Adapted from Margaret Fulton)

*This recipe requires a team effort between parent and child.

Equipment

Food Processor (or equivalent)

Large, deep frying pan

Measuring cups

Chopping board

Large knife (for chopping the pumpkin)

Smaller chopping knife (for the onion)

Large plastic stirring spoon

Soup Ladle

Ingredients

90g (3 oz) butter

4.5 cups pumpkin, peeling and cubed

½ cup diced onion

2 cups water

3 tablespoons plain flour

1 cup milk

1 egg yolk

Sour Cream

Chives

Directions

When it came to teaching Mister how to make pumpkin soup, I told him there were 5 main stages to making pumpkin soup: chopping, frying, pureeing, heating, serving.

1- Chopping the veggies

I have always used butternut pumpkin for this soup. I find this easier to cut up than other varieties but feel free to choose your own favourite. It costs a bit more yet buying your pumpkin pre-peeled takes much of the pain out of making pumpkin soup, especially if you have mobility troubles with your hands.

You will need to determine whether you should cut up the pumpkin or whether your child is able to do it safely. Mister and I did it together. I sliced off the peel and then he diced the pumpkin himself.

Slice the pumpkin into small pieces around 2cm x 2cm.

Dice onion.

2) Frying

Melt half the butter (45g) in a large, deep heavy frying pan on medium heat.

Add pumpkin and onion.

Cook for 10 minutes. They will brown during this time and need to be turned with a spatula.

Add water and simmer until the pumpkin is very tender. We were in a hurry so I didn’t turn the hotplate down and that worked well. As the pumpkin softened, I also cut it up a bit with the spatula to speed the cooking time up a little. Lunch was running rather late by the time we’d returned from our trip to the shops to buy the ingredients.

3) Pureeing

Transfer the pumpkin mix to your food processor.

Add a little of the milk.

Process until smooth.

4)Thickening

Melt remaining butter (45g) in the frying pan and then stir in the flour. You need to move fairly quickly, stirring constantly and making sure it doesn’t form a solid lump which will then make your soup lumpy, in which case, you return the soup to the food processor like us.

Quickly add the milk to the flour and butter and then the pureed pumpkin. It might be best to take the mix off the stove while you are doing this to prevent things moving to quickly and getting lumps in the soup.

Simmer for 20 minutes on a lower heat setting.

Just before serving, mix the egg yolk with a little of the pumpkin soup mix and then stir it into the pumpkin soup.

5) Serving

Using a soup ladle, dish up the soup. With four people, each person received two ladles of soup.

You could add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle fresh chives over to each serving or these additions could be placed on the table and diners could serve themselves.

I served buttered slices of Turkish bread which were hot straight out of the oven with our soup. Yum!

We hope you enjoy your Pumpkin Soup as much as we loved ours.

Xx Rowena

Pumpkin Soup with sour cream and chives.

Pumpkin Soup with sour cream and chives.

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