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Monday, October 14, 2013

Spice it Up Please

What do you with your pumpkins? Are they merely a fall decoration for your front stoop or do you take the leap, maybe toast the seeds? Which leads me to the final question - what do you do with the insides of the pumpkin if you go this route? Do you toss it or find another use?

For me, when I started down the road of toasty pumpkin seeds, it was find a use or toss it into the compost bin. I had no idea that I’d be entering the ‘spicy pumpkin soup’ zone. Yes, it turned into a weekend event. But the end result,'s the story.

Where do I begin sharing a recipe for something that was bunged together from the start? My Monday morning point is that the pumpkin inners should not be wasted, specifically if you have one that is more like butternut squash. When you cut into some of those larger pumpkins, they can be quite gooey and stringy. But our volunteer pumpkins that grew in this summer’s garden are perfecto for pumpkin soup. Although the seed quantity was limited, I washed each individually of pumpkin residue. Laid out flat on a cookie sheet, it was into the oven to dry. There was a chicken roasting when I did this, so they toasted up quite nice. The seeds were in for about 15 minutes before the oven was turned off. I left them in overnight to finish crisping off.
Now onto the soup, these pumpkin parts and a recipe that started off in my head. So right there, this spells trouble. Best to dig for a tried and true recipe; this is the spicy pumpkin soup recipe I used (just bits and pieces) to give me a little boost.

Here are some of my deviations:

I peeled and boiled the pumpkin in water with chicken broth, a chopped onion, a cinnamon stick and Grains of Paradise. The broth and pumpkin sat for a couple of days refrigerated before it was churned into a soup. It may have enhanced certain flavors but the next time, I would roast the pumpkin. By the time I sought a U Turn for this concoction, this is where I was in the process. But let’s get back to the soup recipe.
Just before the churning occurred, the cinnamon stick was removed. The only ingredients I used from the recipe above were brown sugar, milk, heavy cream, cayenne pepper and pepper flakes. I also added about a tablespoon of creamed honey with cinnamon. Did this add to its sweetness? I couldn’t tell you as I’m a challenge in the kitchen when it comes to following any recipe rules.

The toasty pumpkins seeds add a bit off nutty to the soup and might even balance the spice and hot. I did give the seeds a final toast; I placed them in olive oil in a hot pan, tossing them with some salt. It gave the soup a little extra pinch of savory. But overall, the soup was a hit. As Julia Child reminds us, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” Have a great Monday. Thank goodness our New England teams won big!

Images by Ann Bilowz ©

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)