Saturday, October 3, 2009

Peter Peter the Pumpkin Picker

Thor and his pumpkin Pumpkin Pix
Photographs Courtesy of Chuck Sudo of

Early in September, I catered the Local Beet's inagural farm dinner at Genesis Growers. Thor had a blast between tractor rides in the field and playing with the friendlest and fluffiest barn cat ever to be found. He also loved his trip to the field to pick a pumpkin with Farmer Vicki. Detailed accounts of the dinner can be found on Chicagoist and The Local Beet.

Last weekend, during my canning adventures, I roasted the pumpkin at 350º F for about an hour on a baking sheet lined with silpat. After it cooled, I pureed it, strained it and turned it into this delicious soup.


Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Soup
4 servings

1 tablespoon bacon grease
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
1/2 celery stalk, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 slices ciabatta, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Heat the bacon grease in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery and onion and cook until the onion is softened, approximately 4 minutes. Sprinkle the coriander and cumin over the vegetables and cook stirring for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 15 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and cook for another 10 minutes. Cool slightly and then puree the soup in a food processor or a blender. Return the soup to the cleaned pot and heat over medium heat. Whisk in peanut butter and add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. While the soup is heating, heat the butter in a small skillet over low heat. Brown the butter and then toss the bread cubes into it. Cook until the bread is golden. Toss with parsley. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and top with croutons.

Kid Cooking Tips
With a kid-safe knife, kids can cut the carrot and celery. They can also stir and whisk.

Bacon grease resulting from cooking down Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm Bacon
Pumpkin, celery, onion, carrot and parsley from Genesis Growers
Spices from The Spice House
Chicken stock made from chicken parts from Triple S Farms
Peanut butter from East Wind Nut Butters
Butter from Organic Valley
Ciabatta from Bennison's Bakery

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