Monday, October 11, 2010


Last week was pretty awful around here. I have a miserable cold, and I am not a good sick person. So it made the week feel pretty long, likely for everyone at my house, although the prospect of a long weekend was some comfort. When I'm sick I tend to cook what I think of as 'comfort food' dishes. Often, particularly in the Fall/Winter, that means soup.

Last weekend I made pumpkin cookies for the boys and was left with a half can of pureed pumpkin. I thought about making another batch of cookies, or some pumpkin bread, but decided instead to see if I could make pumpkin soup. Not finding any pumpkin soup recipes in my print cookbook collection I turned to the web and found what seemed like a winner on

I like community-based recipe sites like AllRecipes. They remind me of community cookbooks, which aren't entirely extinct but probably less popular than years past, when family favourites were typed up and spiral bound and sold as fundraisers for hockey teams and Girl Guide troops. The Internet take on community cooking is of course, not a passive experience, because people can comment on your recipe, recommending variations that can lighten, sweeten or flat out change (for better or worse, depending on your perspective) the original. Take the recipe I found for Cream of Pumpkin Soup. It had a high overall rating (4 and 1/2 stars) but when I went in to read some of the reader reviews of the recipe the comments showed that those who made the soup tweaked it to their own taste, then appeared to rank the soup based not on the original recipe but on their adapted version. Those who did not tweak the soup ranked it quite low - the 2-3 star range. So I had to puzzle together, based on the numerous suggested tweaks, what would be my recipe for Cream of Pumpkin Soup. Here is what I ended up making:

Cream of Pumpkin Soup

1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp butter, melted
30 ounces chicken broth
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
2 pinches nutmeg
1 shake cayenne pepper
1 cup skim milk

Saute onion in butter in medium saucepan until softened. Add half of chicken broth, stir, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Transfer broth to blender, process until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan. Add remaining broth, pumpkin, brown sugar and spices. Stir well, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add milk, stir and simmer 5 minutes. Serve.

A simple but effective soup. I served it at our Thanksgiving Saturday and those who tasted it (no one under the age of 9 was interested) liked it a lot. Some of the less adventurous in the crowd (you know who you are) thought the soup would taste too much like pumpkin pie, so refrained. I'll admit to being curious if that would be the case but it wasn't. The soup tasted very similar to squash soups that I have made/tasted in the past. No pie-ish taste at all. Being dulled by a cold didn't lessen the taste of this great soup which I will definitely make again. Being dulled by a cold did make me forget to photograph this particular creation so here is a shot of our Thanksgiving table instead.

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