Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Pumpkin Tureen 

I don't know why I put off making the pumpkin tureen for so many years. The idea of baking a soup inside a pumpkin is such a perfect thing to do for a food geek like me. Every year since I bought Mollie Katzen's The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, Halloween would roll around and I'd think, "Pumpkin Tureen?" and a voice would answer, "Not this year."

But this year the voices inside my head gave me the go ahead, and by the way, isn't it fortunate that the voices tell me to bake soup inside a pumpkin instead of the myriad nefarious suggestions they could make?

"Bake soup inside a pumpkin!" vs. "Kill the president!" or "The mail carrier is the devil!"

What a relief that they're food addicts rather than conspiracy theorists or religious extremists.

Now that I'd finally gotten permission, I zipped over to the local farmer's market and picked out two pumpkins, a small one and a wee one, thinking Alex might like to eat his soup right out of the pumpkin, because you know, if I was five, I'd be all about that.

But as it turns out, he was kind of a jerk about the whole thing. He half-heartedly scooped out his pumpkin outside on the patio, and sullenly kicked the sharp-ended special pumpkin scoopy thing I'd splurged on, even though he'd been expressly told that it was sharp and he should stay away from it. Ever had those moments when your child does something outrageously stupid like, say, kicking a knife, and you're simultaneously concerned and unsympathetic? Yeah.

Anyway, so we (I) baked the soup and served it and he refused to take even the first bite of it. Because he thinks he's too grown for a nap but clearly is mistaken. The Pumpkin Tureen was delicious. Give it a try. You'll see.

The Pumpkin Tureen

1 3-lb pumpkin
1 T butter, slightly softened
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1 t prepared horseradish
1 t prepared brown mustard
1/2 c Swiss cheese
2 slices pumpernickel bread, cubed
1 can low-fat evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne
pinch of nutmeg

1.) Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.) Cut off top of pumpkin. Scoop out pumpkin guts. Save seeds for toasting later. Scrape out inside of pumpkin to remove slimy pumpkin gut layer that coats it. Save top. Put pumpkin inside 9 x 12 cake pan.

3.) Rub inside of pumpkin with butter.

4.) Put all ingredients inside pumpkin.

5.) Put top back on pumpkin. To avoid any sort of top-shrinkage-falling-into-pumpkin dilemmas, you can put some tin foil over the hole on the top.

6.) Bake for 2 hours.

7.) Scrape cooked pumpkin into soup when you serve it.

Alex will see the error of his ways re: the Pumpkin Tureen someday. You'll see.

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