April 20, 2024

Cooking with Toby: dinner in a pumpkin


This archived article was written by: Toby Foster

We are going to get weird this Halloween season. Everyone asks about what I am planning to make for this article, raised an eyebrow and wondered why I thought this would be a good idea, but you will just have to trust me on this one. I am leaving my original mission behind because it was too fun to pass up. The recipe is more expensive because of the pumpkin and takes more time than usual.
When I set out to make soup inside of a pumpkin, I had heard of it before. My mom made a variation of this soup before that I took and changed beyond recognition.
All soups have a base component that provides the liquid for the soup. Tomato is common and can be used alongside almost any ingredient. Some recipes have a milk or cream base. These are not plentiful since milk is easy to scorch while cooking. Clam chowder is an example.
This soup uses a broth as its base. When you cook a broth- based soup, for the most part you want to use the same meat that the broth was made from. Turkey meat and chicken broth are an exception and can used together, and vegetable stock can be used with any meat.
When I make a soup, I rarely use the same vegetable combination over and over. As a result, I have to find a way to make sure my soups would be good every time instead of flopping every other time. I found an easy way to be certain that they will go well together is to use vegetables that are in season together. I have never seen an exception to this rule.
There are still many combinations of vegetables that go well together outside of this rule, but it is an excellent guide for beginners to use until they become more experienced. I followed this rule for the most part in this recipe. Most of the vegetables in this recipe are fall vegetables to go with the pumpkin, green onions however are in season during the spring.
When you cook a soup with different vegetables, you need to take into account that they all cook at different rates. For this one, the carrots and sweet potatoes take the longest to cook, that is why they are the only ones that get cooked before it goes into the pumpkin with everything else.
Also, when you dish this out to serve, scrape some of the pumpkin meat out of it, but try not to break the outer skin or you may end up with a mess. I made this recipe for a small pumpkin; not one of the super tiny ones that you would put on your desk, but the kind you would get for a 5-year-old to carve because they want to carry it out of the store and will not let you take it.
1 small pumpkin
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 small sweet potato
1 medium carrot
1 32 oz container of beef or chicken broth
3 white mushrooms
4 green onions
1 tsp seasoned salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp thyme
2 pinches of rosemary