Thursday, November 06, 2008

This boon to mortals giv'n

I promised a recipe for this fabulous pumpkin soup I made last weekend. But first, some caveats: it uses canned pumpkin. I know, I know, you're shocked, SHOCKED that I didn't carve a pumpkin, cook it down, render the flesh (or whatever it is you do to squash), and make it from scratch, but I just couldn't see doing that when canned pumpkin is on sale and just as yummy as the real thing usually. And this soup was greeted with MUCH suspicion at first at the event to which I took it. I didn't give anyone the hard sell because I didn't want to force anyone to try a new food and then, you know, get sick on me or something, but I was surprised at how long it took virtually everyone there to warm up to the idea of this perfectly innocuous (or so it seemed to me) soup. Admittedly, I know some people have a sweet/savory issue when it comes to sweet potatoes and pumpkin and the like, but I resisted my urge to make this soup sweeter than it needed to be so one wouldn't feel like one was drinking pumpkin pie. And I added ham and onions for good measure, just to make it perfectly clear that this was a savory dish. But STILL! Once people did break down and try it (there were only three options, so they had little choice), everyone raved. Until then, however, many people wandered up to the large pot (did I mention this recipe makes a TON?), looked in, swished the ladle around a bit, and then said something along the lines of "Oh, pumpkin soup....How interesting." Really? I had no idea I was so gourmet and/or avant garde!

Pumpkin Soup for a Crowd

1 T. butter
2 med. onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (or less)
2 pounds ham, chopped (size to fit your fancy. I like small pieces and lots of 'em)
3 (29 ounce) cans pumpkin puree (or six of the smaller cans)
3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth (you may not need all of the third)
1 pint light cream (this is all the dairy involved, really a proportionally small amount, but you could use *lactaid* or regular milk)
4 T. brown sugar (or more)
1 1/2 t. cumin (a little goes a long way)
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice (so there's a little bit of sweet)
1 t. onion salt
1/2 t. grill seasoning (or more if you're a pepper fan)
1/2 t. fresh rosemary, minced

Melt the butter in the bottom of your largest stock pot over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add ham and saute briefly (the husband recommends sautéing your ham first to brown it and then adding the onion/garlic). Add pumpkin, 2 cans of broth, cream, and spices. Soup will be THICK, so thin to your liking with remaining broth. Cook over low heat, covered, for as long as you want (I cooked it for three hours on low while we were crafting and it was delicious), or heat through on a higher heat and serve. Serves at least 16 people.

(based on a recipe from but changed in several ways)

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