My week was bookended by funerals. Tuesday, longtime friend Vicki of Pink-Link laid her Grandma to rest, 100 years old. It was a sweet sendoff. Then Saturday, we said goodbye to Paul Conrad, my parents’ four-decade pal and fellow party animal. In my youth, when their “gang” shot pool at our house, Conrad’s booming “GET IN THERE GODDAMMIT!!!” and trademark “LEGS!!!!!” kept us kids awake ‘til the parties broke up. (“Legs,” if you cannot guess, was Conrad bellowing for his poorly shot ball to grow some legs and walk itself into a pocket.)
The service for Conrad was crowded and multi-generational: his friends, school chums of their kids, loyal coworkers and professional peers. How the day played out was memorable, and details best kept close to the hearts of those of us in attendance.
So why cook Pumpkin Cream Soup today? While not related to losing Grandma or Conrad, I admit it was influenced by the week. At Saturday’s service, several of my folks’ friends told me they like this food blog. Some try the recipes occasionally, others just read the stories. My obligation to deliver things that might be of use to people outside the little world of Patti and Larry was humbling. And after a week such as this, anyone could use some comfort food. Soup.
- Soup is comforting. I once worked for the Campbell Soup company, and sold a ton of soup (in foodservice sales, my clients were large institutions like school districts, hospitals, restaurant chains and – prisons. Yes, I have been On The Inside). In any country in the world, soup can be found and it is comforting.
- Soup is easy to cook. A lot of my readers are “up there” in age – my parents share the links with their pals. For those who do some scratch cooking, this is a good recipe.
- You can make soup in small batches. Larry and I are the only two in this household but sometimes I get carried away and make giant pots of soup. It freezes well.
- We can all do with more meatless meals. I ‘m guessing Grandma (age 100) and Conrad (age 86) ate what they pretty much wanted. But over the years, most of our diets evolve as our bodies tell us a previous meal was a mistake for various reasons. “Thatza Spicy Meatball” and “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” were great TV commercials about how meals can make you miserable. Soup is easy on the tummy.
- Soup is frugal. Look in your fridge, see a collection of odd ingredients, toss in a pot with some chicken broth, and voila, soup. This recipe would be pretty good with a scoop of hot cooked rice, too.
Update: thank you to Betty Crocker for featuring this recipe of mine on their blog. Very flattering!
Pumpkin Cream Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 can (14 oz.) low salt chicken broth
- 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
- Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
In a large stockpot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened. Stir in flour to thicken, cook stirring 2 minutes. Gradually add chicken broth and cook over medium heat until thickened.
Stir in pumpkin, salt, cumin, chili powder and paprika. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in milk and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with a little sour cream, fresh chives if desired. Makes four servings.