Hollowing out and scraping the strings and seeds from a pumpkin isnít my idea of fun. Of course it is a yearly ritual for many families, since it is traditional to have a jack-o-lantern with a candle inside for Halloween. Discount stores now feature inexpensive, but quite nice, fake pumpkins which have light bulbs inside, eliminating the fire hazard and all the carving work. So, while my neighbors are toiling over cleaning and carving their real pumpkins, I proudly display quite nice, fake pumpkins in my entry way.
I am sometimes willing to put forth a little more effort where food is involved, even if it means scraping the strings and seeds from a pumpkin. Iíve done it almost every year since I saw Julia Child prepare a delicious and elegant creamy soup in a pumpkin. Of course, you can delegate the pumpkin cleaning to family members, and if you do this, you can gather the ingredients while your loved one is toiling over the pumpkin cleaning. The actual hands-on time (minus the pumpkin cleaning, of course) is only about 15 minutes.
My shortcut version of Soup in a Pumpkin is very different from the one Julia Child introduced; my tasters (grandkids, kids, and one very-picky-eater husband) actually liked it better. It can be ladled into small bowls at a fancy dinner party, or served as the main meal for family. To save time, Iíve developed this version to be used with my versatile Basic Soup Mix; if you donít have any in your refrigerator, click on the link at the bottom of this page for the recipe. Other time savers are dehydrated onion and Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon.
Shortcut Pumpkin and Rice Soup in a Pumpkin
1 7-9 pound pumpkin (not too tall; it needs to fit into your oven)
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup or 2 cups chopped onion dehydrated onion flakes
3/4 cup long grain rice
2 quarts chicken stock, packaged, canned, or made from bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 cup crumbled bacon
2 cups cream soup mix
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Cut a fairly wide lid from the top of the pumpkin. Scrape the seeds and strings from the lid, then scrape them out of the pumpkin. Rub the inner flesh of the pumpkin with the butter, then sprinkle the inside with the salt and pepper. Set the pumpkin in a sturdy baking dish.
Place the onion and rice in the bottom of the pumpkin; pour in enough of the chicken stock to fill the pumpkin within 3 inches of the top. Sprinkle in the sage and bacon; stir in the cream soup mix.
Set the pumpkin on the lower level of a preheated 400į oven. Place the pumpkin lid to the side of the pumpkin. Bake for 1 hour, remove the pumpkin from the oven, and stir the contents. Return the pumpkin to the oven and continue cooking until the pumpkin flesh inside is just softened, about 1 hour--do not overcook or it will collapse. Remove the pumpkin from the oven.
Stir the Swiss cheese and cream into the soup with the chopped parsley. Ladle in bowls, scraping off some of the flesh from inside the pumpkin as you do.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 349 Calories from Fat 207
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 59% Protein 16% Carb. 25%
Nutrient Amount per
Total Fat 23 g
Saturated Fat 14 g
Cholesterol 75 mg
Sodium 1590 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 14 g
Vitamin A 14% Vitamin C 7% Calcium 0% Iron 3%