I have the honor of kicking off our Gluten Free Progressive Oscar Dinner Party. We’re all selecting meals related to Oscar-nominated movies. When it comes to the movies in the nominations this year, the one that speaks food the most is, of course, Julie and Julia. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) describes Julie and Julia: “Julia Child’s story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell’s 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child’s first book.” I enjoyed this movie, largely because of my love of Julia Child and Meryl Streep’s charming portrayal of Julia. Make no mistake about it … it’s Meryl who brings Julia and, therefore, this movie to life. In my opinion, Streep’s Best Actress nomination is well deserved.
In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child shared her pumpkin soup recipe. Hers was served in a pumpkin and included crème fraiche. While crème fraiche is very French and very delicious, if I’m the one making it, I want a simpler pumpkin soup. (And, sadly—or perhaps gladly—there are no pumpkins available to use as serving dishes this time of year.) My friend, Veronica, had mentioned her pumpkin soup recipe back in the fall. I finally asked her for the recipe and she immediately emailed it to me. Even better, she graciously gave me permission to share it with you, my gfe readers.
Veronica told me that her inspiration was a pumpkin soup made by her Belgian cousin. Veronica created a quick and easy, mild-flavored, but hearty version, which works as a meal. However, she used evaporated skim milk versus traditional cream, half and half, or crème fraiche as was used in Julia Child’s recipe. (You can read more of Veronica’s notes below the recipe.)
This soup can be made with either canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin puree. I had some puree in the freezer and the other ingredients on hand. This soup came together so quickly and I fell in love with its velvety texture and savory, yet slightly sweet flavor. Veronica’s Pumpkin Soup … it’s now one of those dishes that make me think comfort, warmth, and simple goodness. I think Julia would approve and I hope you do, too.
Veronica’s Pumpkin Soup
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)
1 onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons butter (dairy or non-dairy)
1 large can (29 ounces) of pumpkin (or equal amount of fresh pumpkin puree)
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 12-oz can evaporated skim milk, regular evaporated milk, whole, or 2-percent milk (or dairy-free milk)
In a soup pot, sauté the onion in the butter until tender. Add the pumpkin, broth, ginger, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Simmer for about 20 minutes to blend flavors, then add the milk, heat through, and serve.
Veronica’s Notes: Because I normally use boxed broth, I don’t add any salt. If you’re using homemade broth, you may want to add salt to taste. Canned pumpkin may be denser and heavier than most home-prepared pumpkin, so you may want to adjust the amount of your liquids. If your pumpkin isn’t pureed, you’ll need to mash or puree it before adding it to the soup. This makes a thick soup with some texture as I serve it as an entree, not an appetizer. Those who want a lighter, smoother version may want to send it through the food processor and add a bit more milk at the end.
Shirley’s Notes: Because I’m usually the only one eating this pumpkin soup, I use a 16-ounce can of pumpkin (slightly more than half the original amount in Veronica’s recipe) or 2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree. I also halve all the other ingredients. Using fresh pumpkin will make for a soup that’s a bit lighter in color and taste and slightly thinner as well because of the water content in fresh puree. I use regular evaporated milk because that’s what I have on hand most often. For the dairy-free folks, I believe non-dairy milk should work, but haven’t personally tried the recipe using non-dairy milk. Of course, non-dairy butter (or perhaps grapeseed or coconut oil) would also need to be substituted for the butter in this recipe to make it dairy free. If you’d like to serve a bread with this soup, either my gfe cornbread or popovers would be a great accompaniment. They both are simple and easy recipes that would complement this soup nicely.
A little bit of history on my friendship with Veronica … Veronica and her family used to live at the end of our street. However, it was only after they moved to Belgium for a few years that she and I really got to know each other and became good friends. How is that possible you ask? Well, after her family was settled in Belgium, I found out she had a blog—now called Compost Studios. Her subtitle explains the title, but she shares writing, musings, art journal entries, photographs, and handmade cards at Compost Studios. I started following her blog faithfully. We’d chat via comments on her blog and exchange emails from time to time, and soon we knew each other far better than we had when we’d only lived several doors apart. It seems crazy, but I maintain that the connections many of us make via blogs are very much like the communication of pen pals of years ago. Slow and steady, so to speak, with just the right amount of committment to get to know someone. Incidentally, Veronica’s self-named professional blog is here. (If you need a professional writer, she’s your person.) Thanks so much for this very lovely pumpkin soup recipe, Veronica!
Okay, this year the Oscars can be more than fashion do’s and don’ts and yea’s and nay’s on movies. This year it can be about the food! Please visit the rest of the Gluten Free Progressive Oscar Dinner Party folks for more award-winning ideas:
Tuesday, February 23 – Sea from Book of Yum with appetizers inspired from the movie Avatar—Millet Eggplant Croquettes and Fried Chips (Two Kinds)
Wednesday, February 24 – Karen from Cook4Seasons with Kale Chips as Oscar celebration food, Diane from The WH.O.L.E. Gang also using inspiration from Julie and Julia—Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Whipped Cream, and me again, this time with Southern Fried Oysters for Crazy Heart
Interested in having your own Oscar party? Visit Diane’s event page to print out ballots for voting and get your Oscar party kit. I really like the looks of The Red Carpet Party Fizz cocktail myself.
FYI—I plan to be back with at least one more Oscar-inspired main dish this week … please stay tuned. Last, there’s an Xagave and cookbook giveaway over on the Out and About page. Check it out here!
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