Last weekend, my family and I visited a pow-wow in Stone Mountain, GA. There, a woman was making soup inside of a pumpkin beside the campfire. Let’s just say I was inspired. I came home and started researching soup recipes and perfecting my campfire building skills. All of my laundry now smells like charred wood. I did finally find a soup recipe that I thought would work well with a little tweaking. It is the Soup in a Pumpkin recipe from the lovely ladies at What We’re Eating. Here is my version (with some tweaking):
1 sprig rosemary
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2″ piece ginger, sliced
3 sage leaves
3 mint leaves
1 medium-large pumpkin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp brown sugar
5 c. chicken stock
1 lg parsnip
1 lg russet potato
1 yellow onion
1 stalk celery
1 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt t.t.
Black Pepper t.t.
First, you want to assemble your herb bundle. Cut a piece of cheese cloth large enough to wrap around the herbs twice. Lay the sprigs of rosemary, sage leaves and mint leaves on the cheese cloth. Garlic and ginger do not need to be peeled. Slice the ginger into thin slices with your knife and add to the herb bundle. Smash each clove of garlic by placing it under the widest point of the knife and hitting it with your fist. Repeat for the second garlic clove and add to the herb bundle. Wrap the cheese cloth around the herbs and secure with butcher’s twine. Set aside.
Toss with olive oil and Kosher salt. Lay out on a foil lined baking sheet and roast in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes or until a light golden brown. Use a spatula to turn over about half way through cooking time. I let them cool on the baking sheet. They get crisp as they cool.
Back to my soup…
Doesn’t that just look cozy? I love fire. Just ask my family. On second thought, don’t ask my family…
Rough chop your vegetables into 1 inch pieces. I cut mine smaller because I thought I was going to do this as a broth soup, then I realized this really does work better as a pureed soup. Moral of the story: it doesn’t matter what size you cut them into as long as they are uniform so they cook evenly. Toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a foil lined cookie sheet.
Roast in the oven on 375 for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are a golden brown and tender. Turn with a spatula about half way through cooking time. (The woman at the pow-wow was cooking her vegetables on a stone over the fire. I really want one of those stones.) Add the vegetables to the soup inside of the pumpkin.
For the rest of the day, you tend the fire, watch the soup and turn the pumpkin. As I said before, I let it cook for 4 hours, then finally finished it in the oven for an hour at 375. By that point the pumpkin was tender and scooped out easily with a metal spoon. Using a ladle, I scooped the liquid out of the pumpkin and into the blender. (Be careful lifting the pumpkin, especially after it comes out of the oven. The bottom is very tender and may leak.) Then I used the metal spoon to scoop the pumpkin into the blender. Blend the soup until it is very smooth. It should not resemble baby food. If it does, thin it with some more chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This is a great autumn or winter soup to warm you up. Henry loved it so you know it must be good. Even my husband went back for seconds. And you want to know the best part about cooking on a campfire? Smores!
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