Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pumpkin Soup, a Cost Effective and Delicious Meal on a Cold Winter Day.

I recently took the plunge and learned how to can Pumpkin.  At first glance, you might think "Why do that?, I can buy a can in the store when I need it".  It is a very valid thought.  However, as I have looked at what I can do with this, and the cost effectiveness of canning pumpkin, I am grateful that I took the time to learn, to try, & to experiment on the word.  Here is the process with my thoughts on how to do this. 

I plan on using my little bottles of orange goodness for many things.  Here is one recipe that I tried....and it was great!

What is it?  Pumpkin soup.  I found the recipe in my my trusty "The New Pillsbury Family Cookbook" that was copyrighted in 1975.   Yes, this cookbook has been around for a while. I looked on Pillsbury website for this particular recipe, but it wasn't really there.  However, I found several that I really would like to try in the future that looked delish!

Pumpkin Soup (Pillsbury) 

(With the Little Red Hen's suggestions in red of course)

4 Cups cubed raw pumpkin
1/2 Cup butter or margarine
1/2 Cup water
3.5 to 4 cups (about 26 oz) chicken stock (see my suggestions below)
2 stalks celery, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, quartered,
3 sprigs parsley or 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon powdered thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry (I skipped this step)
1 teaspoon salt

The directions tell you out cook your pumpkin in butter then simmer with 1/2 cup water for 30 minutes.  I skipped this step and used my canned pumpkin.

The remainder of the ingredients are used to make a broth.  Simmer them for 30 minutes.  I used my Chicken Flavored soup base, but also could have used my powdered bouillon for the chicken stock.  Having food storage staples gives me many options.  I hate to have my choices restricted:). 

The instructions suggest that you strain out all the vegetables and just use the broth. The next step is to add the pumpkin and simmer for 15 minutes.  I refused to throw out all those simmered vegetables.  I removed the bay leaf and kept them all.

The suggestion was to blend the soup contents in the blender.  All I could think of was "what a hot mess".  Instead, I pulled out my stick blender  and went to work.  I found that tilting my stick blender slightly allowed for the larger chunks of the vegetables to be pureed.  

Doesn't it look beautiful as a puree?

I served this delicious soup with salad.  It was a cold day and this was a welcome meal by all.  Rooster Junior even helped himself to seconds.  

After chopping the vegetables, which really didn't take long, the time involved was the simmering (about 45 minutes total) and the blending (about 5 minutes). Most of the time this was simmering, I was doing other things, so the hands-on time was very short.

I made this soup, I believe for under a dollar.  The Salad (for 4 people) was approximately about $1.58 as the lettuce was $.83 for the head of Romaine, ~ $.75 for grape tomatoes and Onions from my garden. Yes, they are still there and usable in January.    Salad Dressing came from my pantry, (but a couple of tablespoons to me are inconsequential at this point).  Total cost for this meal for 4 people was a whopping $2.58!  

It does pay to can and use these foods as convenience foods when you are cooking.  

Try it!

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