By "Jennie June"
Croly, Mrs. J.C. Jennie June's American Cookery Book. New York: Excelsior Publishing House, 1878. p. 30.
"Take three pounds of ripe pumpkin, peel and remove the seeds, cut into pieces of moderate size, and place in a stewpan over the fire with a pint of water; let it boil slowly till soft, strain off all the water, and pass the pumpkin through a colander; return the pulp into the stew pan adding nearly three pints of milk, one ounce or more of butter, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a few lumps of loaf sugar; boil for ten minutes, stiring often. Pour it boiling into the dish, on very thin slices of bread. The sugar improves the flavor but may be omitted. It can be seasoned with a blade of mace or a little nutmeg."
My variant of this soup:
1 small sugar pumpkin
2 cups milk
1 Tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Nutmeg or mace
Thinly sliced bread, for serving
Follow Jennie June's directions for cooking the pumpkin, and after draining reduce it to a pulp by one of the following methods:
-Passing through a colander, as June suggests.
-Mashing with a potato masher (my preferred method).
-Passing through a rotary food mill.
This should yield about 2 1/4 cups mashed pumpkin.
Return the pumpkin pulp to medium heat, add the butter, and stir until the butter disappears into the pumpkin. (This only takes a few seconds, and keeps the butter from floating up to the top of the milk as separate fat globules.) Then add the milk and salt, mix thoroughly, and continue heating until the soup boils. Pour over the bread and top with freshly ground pepper and nutmeg or mace.
Notes: The mere two cups of milk I use make this more of a chowder than a soup, especially when the bread dissolves in the liquid. June's recommendation of "nearly three pints" (6 cups) of milk makes a much thinner soup: Individual tastes vary and people should adjust the amount to their own preferences.
This soup is excellent with steamed cauliflower, either as a side or added to the soup.
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