Pumpkins store very well, which makes this a great recipe to have on hand. I have made this with a variety of pumpkins and other winter squash, including butternut squash, but I have also used some pretty odd looking varieties of squash out of curiosity at the store. (If it kind of looks like a pumpkin, it will probably work. ) This soup has always come out great despite my experimentation. When you plant your pumpkins, consider planting a variety so that you have a better chance of growing and storing successfully.
Two tricks to better storage of pumpkins are: 1) to let them set out in the sun for a week to harden the crust and, 2) to leave a length of stem on when you harvest them (see the book Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables by Mike Bubel and Nancy Bubel, a very worthwhile book!) Then move them to your cellar. Everything else in the recipe grows in the garden or can be stored in a can or as a dried spice. If you store canned pumpkin, you can still make this up, or consider making batches ahead of time and canning with a pressure cooker. Just take out the anise before canning.
Another great source of pumpkin recipes is the little cookbook "The Pumpkin Book". This came out of the Pumpkin Festival held at Half Moon Bay, California. Note: Don't forget to add a food press to your survival kitchen list.
It's worth making now! Get some practice on this one and try it at least once with butternut squash.
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Pinch of nutmeg
2 Tbsp Shallots or Onions
Chopped finely ½ star anise
1 tsp garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
3 Cups pumpkin
2 Tbsp butter (not really necessary, I seldom add it)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Ground salt and pepper
Cut the pumpkin in half, scrape out those precious heirloom seeds and don't lose them. Bake the squash in a solar oven or similar oven with a little water in the pan, until it is easily pierced with a fork. Mash or puree the cooked squash in a food press and set aside. (If you have electricity still, use a food processor). Add a little oil to the cooking pot, then add the shallots, garlic and cook, stirring often to soften. Add the squash and the spices and cook stirring for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Season well with salt and fresh pepper and just before serving add the butter and whisk in.
I have cooked this many times without butter and can't tell the difference.
The anise can be fished out, rinsed, dried and reused a couple of times in future batches.
Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:
Check out the plethora of great recipes and tips at Red Dirt Cooking, such as this one: Cowhand Soup.
Do you have a favorite recipe that you have tested extensively? Then please e-mail it to us for posting. Thanks!