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Pumpkin Soup!

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The words, “Pumpkin Soup” are wrought with meaning in our family. For myself, I imagine a ginormous sunken pumpkin filled with soup – the only part of which I was willing to eat being the black olives. Nevertheless, in my bowl was plopped a liquidy slosh of soup, onions, ground beef, peppers, black olives, and slimy scrapings from the inside of the pumpkin, and I don’t know what else. I was too disgusted by the pumpkin.

Here’s an excerpt from our book, “Monte’s Misfits – Creative Parenting,” where Peggy talked about her first experience with Pumpkin Soup – served while we had the local missionaries over for dinner!

After everyone settled down and Dad sat at the head of the table, Mom proudly placed dinner directly in front of him.

Time froze.

My eyes widened, trying to comprehend what sat before Dad. Around the room, gasps escaped people’s lips. Blood drained from the missionaries’ faces as their jaws dropped.

“So Cool!” one of my little brothers whispered, and a slightly disturbed look marred Dad’s face.

“What is that?” one of the missionaries asked before he remembered his manners.

“Yes, Barbara, what is this?” Dad chimed in, looking at the orange, misshapen blob in the middle of a cookie sheet.

“This is ‘Dinner in a Pumpkin!’ I learned how to make it in Relief Society,” Mom proclaimed. “I scraped out the pumpkin, put all the ingredients inside, and baked it at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. It doesn’t look very pretty, but it sure sounded good.”

I was horrified. I was mortified. My life as I knew it was about to end.”

Fast Forward to the end of October. I found myself inviting all my siblings over for a family dinner. With the promise of pumpkin dinner given, only two brave souls showed up. Thank you, Chris and Chuck, for loving me more than you hate pumpkin dinner.

I’ll admit, I didn’t end up doing our traditional pumpkin dinner, which, in all my adult wisdom, I know recognize as basically taco soup served in a pumpkin. The siblings say it wasn’t that bad, though the potatoes didn’t cook very quickly.  😦  I’d like to say I’ll remember that for next time, but in reality, I probably won’t.  That’s how I roll.

I know you’re dying to know what this magical recipe is, so here it is:

  • 1 large pumpkin
  • 1.5 lbs stew beef cubed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell peppper, chopped
  • 2 red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (my potatoes probably weren’t small enough, also!)
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 can black olives, whole
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut the top off the pumpkin, remove all the strings and seeds.  If you have a child to do it, that’s best, ’cause they’ll think you’re the coolest mom in the world. I earned lots o’ points from my 11-year-old.
  3. Roast in the oven while you prepare the rest of your stuff. Make sure you use a pan that can gather liquid, ’cause the pumpkin can crack and ooze if cooked too long.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to large pot over high heat. Add the beef, stirring a couple of times to ensure even browning.
  5. Reduce the heat, then add the onions and garlic. Once translucent, add the peppers and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Add everything else, and anything else you so desire to add. Cover with broth. Season to taste
  6. Simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables are just tender. (This is where I screwed up.  I just dumped it directly into the pumpkin.  Don’t do that.)
  7. Ladle into the pumpkin in the oven and bake 30 more minutes to finish cooking.
  8. Serve it while hot, scraping off the pumpkin flesh as you’re dishing out.

Hope you enjoy the recipe!  The best part about it is the look your kids (or spouse) give you when you plop the whole pumpkin onto the table.

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