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How to eat your holiday decorations

By Lesley Wood
Nov. 23, 2010 at 5:23 a.m.

Pumpkin soup is a simple way to eat your holiday decorations.

Pumpkin Soup 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/8 to 1/4

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

6 cups chopped roasted pumpkin

2 ½ cup chicken broth

2 ½ cup vegetable broth

2 cups milk

1/2cup brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

Making the puree

To make the pumpkin puree, cut around the large stem of your medium-large pumpkin as if you are going to carve it. Pop off the stem and scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp. Rinse the seeds and set aside for toasting later. Then, cut the pumpkin in half, rub oil on the skin, and lay hollow side down on a greased foil-lined baking pan. Add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan and bake at 350 degrees until soft, about 60-80 minutes. Periodically start checking the pumpkin at around 50 minutes until it is darker, soft and cuts like butter. Once the pumpkin is done, cool, and remove the flesh from the skin. Measured out 6 cups of pumpkin and freeze the remainder. It can be used later for pies, soups or even smoothies. I enjoyed this recipe and found it easy to make because once the pumpkin puree is made, it is only a matter of cooking and blending all ingredients together. If you have pumpkin puree on hand, this recipe will take little time and effort to create a delicious filling meal.

Making the soup

Melt butter in a large saucepan (one that can hold at least 4 quarts), then add the onions and garlic and cook about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add spices while stirring.

Add the pumpkin puree and 5 cups of broth. Stir well, and bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 15 minutes.

Turn heat to low. Using a hand mixer, blend pumpkin and broth until smooth. Add brown sugar and blend until all chunks are gone.

Slowly stir in milk and cream until well blended. You're done.

If spicy doesn't appeal to you or your guests, just omit the red pepper. Want it spicier? Just add 2 teaspoons of curry powder and a pinch of cayenne.

To serve, pour soup in individual bowls and garnish with some toasted pumpkin seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Many of us keep a fresh pumpkin on our porch as a cheap and easy way to add some autumn cheer, and the idea of letting anything go to waste really irks us.

I decided to try to re-use my pumpkin and turn it into something edible. I thought a soup would be manageable for most of us, and found an awesome recipe online.

I found the soup delicious; it is creamy, buttery and thick.

The recipe was just a tad too bitter and spicy for me with the amount of garlic, onions and spices it called for, so I slightly modified the recipe. The soup is now flavorful.

For busy mothers, this soup can be made in less than 30 minutes, provided you have all ingredients on hand. Roasting the pumpkin takes the longest amount of time - from 60-90 minutes. So, for a quick meal, having roasted pumpkin or pumpkin puree prepared ahead of time is a must.

I haven't had any trouble encouraging anyone to try this soup. My son even raves that he loves it.

It has the consistency of pea soup and has a distinct pumpkin flavor, so it may not be for everyone.

The Spicy Pumpkin Soup recipe I found is actually adapted from one featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, and is at the following link:

This recipe is versatile, easy and fun to make. It produces so much soup (8-10 servings), that it is also quite cost effective. One $4-$5 holiday pumpkin can be easily turned into wonderful meals and healthy snacks.

Lesley Wood is a student in the media writing class at the University of Houston-Victoria. The Advocate is partnering with the class to help students publish their work.



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