Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.
Today I received a "challenge" from my dear friend and fellow hubber Bill Holland (aka Billybuc). In the past few weeks, I have written articles that feature wonderful, amazing fruits and vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, avocados, and radicchio.
He's not buying into any of it.
So I asked my old Bill what he would like to see, stating (quite boldly) that I could write about anything.
So the gauntlet has been thrown down, and Mr.Billybuc has chosen "pumpkin bisque" as the challenge.
Guess what? I'm Carb Diva, and I can do this!
But First, a Brief History Lesson
Food historians believe that pumpkins are indigenous to North America; in fact, archeologists exploring the Oaxaca Highlands of Mexico have found pumpkin seeds that date to 5,000 B.C. In the late 14th century Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region and reported finding large bitter melons, or “pepons”. The French changed the name to “pompom” which was modified yet again by the English who called it “pumpion.”
Fun Facts About Pumpkin
- Pumpkin soup is the traditional dish served in celebration of Haiti's 1804 independence.
- Pumpkin was so popular in Boston that the city was once nicknamed "Pumpkinshire".
- Squash (pumpkin) is actually classified as a berry, not a vegetable.
- One pumpkin contains between 200 and 500 seeds.
How to Prepare a Pumpkin (and Not Risk a Trip to the Emergency Room)
Pumpkins (in fact, all winter squash) can be rather intimidating, especially to the novice cook. They don't hold still (they are round, hard, and can squirm like a two-year-old). And, they are full of seeds that need to be removed—but how do you get to those seeds without risking the loss of a digit?
I have one word for you—microwave. Here's how to use your microwave oven to soften a winter squash just enough to make it easier to cut, open, and prepare for cooking.
Blender Pumpkin Bisque
Cassie Johnston is a talented blogger who lives in southern Indiana with her husband, dog, cat, and adorable baby. Her site, Wholefully, is a great place to find information on crafts and fitness, gardening tips, and healthy foods for your family. Her pumpkin bisque is easy to make with just a few simple ingredients, it's quick, healthy, and vegetarian.
This recipe for a bisque made of pumpkin and corn seems so perfect for Thanksgiving—rich, indulgent ingredients but quick and easy to put together thanks to the cooks at Pillsbury. I like to swirl a little sour cream into each bowlful. The tang of sour cream seems to be a perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the corn.
Apple, Bacon, and Pumpkin Bisque
I include this recipe because everything is better with bacon. This soup is hearty, rich, creamy, sweet, and salty--it hits all of the high notes. And as an added bonus Kelly, creator of Vixenskitchen (and this yummy soup) includes crunchy garlic croutons, pumpkin seeds, and more crisp bacon on top of each serving.
Savory Pumpkin Bisque
I prefer foods that are more savory than sweet and created this for my family last Winter.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage (or 1 tsp. dried)
- 1 medium sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 5 cups chopped)
- 5 cups canned low-salt vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- Melt butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cover and cook until soft, stirring occasionally--about 7 minutes.
- Add chopped sage; stir 1 minute. Add squash and broth.
- Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is very tender, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.
- Puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Return soup to the pot. Mix in cheese.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pumpkin and White Bean Soup
The inspiration for this recipe comes from Marjorie Druker, owner/operator of the Boston store "New England Soup Factory" and author of the cookbook of the same name. Marjorie's repertoire is mind-blowing, her passion for cooking is amazing, her recipes are wholesome, and her skill with a stockpot is mesmerizing. I rarely if ever promote a publication or cooking gadget on my page, but I sincerely hope you will buy her book. It's filled with over 100 recipes—there's something for everyone, at every skill level. I promise you won't be disappointed.
- 5 cups peeled, diced pumpkin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons basil pesto
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Evenly distribute pumpkin on both baking sheets, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; roast in preheated oven 25 to 30 minutes or until pumpkin is soft and begins to caramelize. Set aside.
- Melt butter in stockpot; add onion, celery, and carrots and sauté over medium-low heat 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and sage. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
- Add one half of the roasted pumpkin to the pot along with the Parmesan. Puree in the pot using a stick blender, or puree in batches in a regular blender until smooth.
- Stir in the beans, remaining roasted pumpkin, and the basil pesto.
© 2016 Linda Lum
Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on December 02, 2016:
Blond Logic - I'm so glad I can give you a bit of inspiration. You've been on my blog too. So happy we are getting to know each other. Thanks for your support.
Mary Wickison from Brazil on December 02, 2016:
I picked a pumpkin out of my garden a few days ago and have been looking for inspiration. I didn't want to go down the pie route again. Thanks for this.
Our pumpkins here in Brazil are a little less intimidating, as they are smaller. They still wiggle around, though.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 18, 2016:
It is the history that sets your recipe hubs apart Diva (yes, I know your real name, but I really like calling you Diva!). I've posted two recipes here on HP. I gave a bit of history on both, but it was personal history - nothing as in-depth as you provide us. We always get an education to accompany the hunger pangs! :-)
Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 18, 2016:
Thank you Bravewarrior. I'd like to think that it's the little bits of history, a story (and not just a plain old recipe) that set my food hubs apart from the others. Toss a few croutons on top of that savory bisque and enjoy!
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 18, 2016:
I always love the history you provide on your recipe hubs. How pumpkin got its name was interesting and cute at the same time.
I'm not one for bisques, but I like your version. I prefer savory over sweet myself.
Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2016:
Eric - Perhaps it's subliminal messaging--every grocery store and fruit stand is filled with pumpkins--but this time of year always makes me crave comfort foods; savory soups and stews are high up on that list. In your little corner of the world perhaps that is not the case. However, up here in the Pacific Northwest morning temperatures are dipping near freezing and there is already heavy snow in the passes.
If you and your son happen to try one of these, please let me know. I'd love to hear your feedback. Have a wonderful day my dear friend.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 17, 2016:
Never had it and never thought about it. These are very doable. Excellent writing as usual. Pompoms?
Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 16, 2016:
Thank you Bill. I hope you and Bev enjoy these. Have a great Wednesday.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 16, 2016:
You are my hero, Linda, and I thank you. Sage is an ingredient we never thought of adding. We will definitely try it...as for Flourish and her comment....me, difficult??? Sigh! My secret is out! LOL
Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 15, 2016:
Flourish - We're almost neighbors. Is an invite too much to ask? Stay tuned. (And if you happen to try one of them, please let me know).
FlourishAnyway from USA on November 15, 2016:
Well that Bill sure is the difficult one to please isn't he? I'd say he needs to pick his favorite and make a pot then give you the results. I've never had pumpkin bisque. Would love to try.