Pumpkin soup in the Dutch oven
12” Dutch oven (for the soup)
20-24 coals below
10” Dutch oven (for the seeds)
15-20 coals below
12” deep Dutch oven (for the pumpkin bowls)
12-15 coals below
12-15 coals above
- Dried seeds of a pumpkin or two
- 2 tbsp oil
- liberal shakes seasoning salt or other spice blend
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch ground cayenne pepper
- 1-2 sweet pumpkins
- 6 cups pumpkin puree (what I made the night before)
- 1 cup of milk
- 3-5 cups of chicken broth
- 1-2 tablespoons corn masa, dissolved in water or broth
I started by lighting up a lot of coals. This one took a while to do, so I went through quite a few over time. At one point, I had three Dutch ovens going at once.
I put the standard 12” oven over some coals, and started melting the butter. I diced up the onions and minced the garlic. I also cut the chicken (which was already pulled from the birds I roasted up last week) into smaller bits. By the way, if you have more or less chicken, it’s fine. In fact, it would be a great soup without it. I put it in because I thought it would add a little more substance and texture to the dish.
I also put the 10” on some coals, with some oil in the bottom, to heat up.
Once the Dutch ovens were heated up, I tossed the onions and the garlic into the 12” and the pumpkin seeds into the 10”. Both got stirred up. I added the seasoning salt to the seeds. I also put the lid on the seeds, to trap the heat. I stirred both the seeds and the onions frequently.
After the onions were getting translucent, I added the chicken. I let that sizzle for a little bit, then added the spices. I would recommend that you add the spices light at this stage, and then boost them as the overall soup is simmering if you want it to be hotter. It’s easy to add heat. It’s impossible to take it out. As it turned out, I really liked the level of heat I got in this pass.
Somewhere around here, the pumpkin seeds were turning nice and brown and crispy. I took them off the coals, but left them in the Dutch oven. There’s a point when cooking pumpkin seeds where they’re just a little too brown and they’re almost burnt. They start to smoke just a little bit. I love that flavor!
I snapped off the stems of the two remaining pumpkins and sliced them open across the “equator”. I scooped out all the guts and scraped out the stringy bits and put them in the 12” deep Dutch oven with a bit of water in the bottom. I had to kind of snuggle them in there. I put that on the coals and let them roast/steam/cook.
Now, here’s where I would do things differently next time, to get a better consistency. I would get a big mixing bowl and dump in the pumpkin puree. Then, I would pour in the milk and I would stir it up. Then, I would add 2 cups of the chicken broth, and, while stirring, keep on adding more broth until it was just a bit runnier than I wanted the final soup to be. Once I got to the consistency I was looking for, I’d add that to the Dutch oven. I’d let it get back up to temperature, and then adjust the coals to get a consistent simmer going on, uncovered.
At that point, the busy work ends and the relaxing part begins. All you have to do is stir and taste the soup, check the pumpkins, and keep the coals fresh and hot. The pumpkins will probably take 45 minutes to an hour to cook. As the soup simmers along, you can adjust the consistency as you like. Add more broth if it’s too thick. Add the corn masa/broth mix if it’s too runny. Add more cayenne if it’s too weak, or more salt to bring out all the other flavors.
When the pumpkins are done, and the soup is satisfactory, then you get to assemble them and serve them. This was the most fun part of all, because after all of that two-day work, it all comes together here.
I put a cooked pumpkin bowl in a regular bowl and filled it up with soup. Then, I added a small spoonful of sour cream right in the middle. I sprinkled the roasted pumpkin seeds all around, and finished it off with a sprinkle of parsley.
Then, we all sat down to eat. The soup itself was tasty and spicy. Occasionally, I’d get a bite with a seed, and the smokey-roasted flavor would set of a whole new taste. It also added a crunchy texture to an otherwise completely soft dish. I would scrape a bit of the “bowl” into some bites of the soup, too, for added pumpkin goodness.
A 5-star meal if ever there was one!
Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.
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