Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pumpkin soup, of course!

 Pumpkin soup (p89) was an obvious recipe to be making during my budget challenge; pumpkins are particularly cheap at the moment. Even so, I was quite stoked when I walked into the Funky Pumpkin the other day and saw the bin of small pumpkins for $0.69. They were exactly the right size too - with the seeds and pulpy stuff taken out, the flesh amounted to just over the 750g I needed.

I'm not a big eater of pumpkin soup. Until a few years ago, I didn't eat pumpkin at all. I'll eat it happily enough now, but I can't say I liked the thought of eating pumpkin soup every day for a week or so. Since the soup made up a large chunk of the meals within my budget challenge plan, I had to find a way to make it palatable enough for repeated consumption.

Bacon bones are not a standard ingredient in the pumpkin soup recipe, but they are mentioned as a possible addition. Remembering how yummy my spicy lentil soup was with bacon bones, I thought that would make a considerable difference. $1.89 got me 2 bacon bones, which turned out to be cheaper than not putting them in.

How come? Well, the recipe called for 4 cups of chicken stock. I had a 500ml carton of stock in my cupboard, and I figured that I could substitute water for the other 500ml. The bacon bones would make up for the lost flavour. Since the bones were cheaper than another carton of stock, I came out on top with this one.

The worst part of making pumpkin soup is cutting up the pumpkin. I took advice from Mum on this point, and, after stabbing the pumpkin a few times for steam holes, I bunged it in the microwave for a few minutes. It was amazing how much easier it was to cut once it'd been microwaved. Even so, it still took a while, and I managed to cut myself a couple of times.

Eventually, all was ready. I'd been heating up some oil in a pot, (which, luckily, didn't quite catch fire while I was running to the bathroom with a bleeding finger. It was a close call though) so I started with the onions, after which I added the pumpkin, some potato, the stock, water and bacon bones. Bring to the boil, set to simmer, and wait. Easy.

The pumpkin and potato cooked quite quickly, but I had to wait a bit longer for the meat to cook on the bacon bones. When they were ready, I pulled them out, scavenged all the meat off them and stuck it back in the pot. I've discovered I didn't do a great job of sorting through the bits of meat, (probably because I was doing it in the ad breaks) since I've found a few bits of gristle in the soup. I'll have to be more careful next time.

Next, I poured the whole lot into my food processor and blitzed it. There was quite a lot, and the processor was a bit over-full, but it did the job. When the texture was nice and smooth, I returned the soup to the pot and tasted it. It was still too sweet to my taste, so I put in quite a lot of salt.

I'm pretty happy with the result. I think I'll manage to eat this for lunch for a few days in a row at least. I'll put a bit more in the freezer so I can have some more next week (when I've had a chance to eat something else for a change). I definitely prefer it with the flavour from the bacon bones: it cuts through the sweetness of the pumpkin. I couldn't say whether a pumpkin soup connoisseur would be keen on my version, but it's good enough for me.


  1. Cold weather souptime!!Pumpkin soup is a good cheap soup as you say and on the whole most people will eat it even if they're not pumpkin eaters normally.I often put a chicken leg or thigh in stock or water with some spices and onions cook them up remove meat while cooking veges in water/stock. Add the meat before or after blitzing in processor. I also use franks for extra flavour as an option.

  2. I love soup. This recipe is so quick and simple and I love simple. I can't find my Edmonds cookbook so I found this wonderful site with great humour and just the recipes I'm looking for. You make it so "simple" When I feel all chef-y I cook lots of things and so thought about this pumpkin soup recipe. I used a hock once and my poor soup was so salty my tastebuds up and left my mouth! As cheap as I am I ate what I could of it and drank the equivilent of Cook Strait, in water. Bacon chopped small and fried and used as garnish is better (and less dangerous for me to poison myself!)

  3. Mmm, bacon garnish.. what an excellent idea!


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