POTAGE AU POTIRON (Pumpkin Soup)

Here is the next French recipe from “La Cuisine,” featuring two things we’ve got from the farm:  Pumpkins from last year’s summer garden (I still have six!  The Seminoles keep so long!) and milk.  According to Chef R. Blondeau (the author), soup must be served at the beginning of dinner if it is not part of lunch.

When I was staying with my friend Sunil in Carcassonne, I got in a sort of argument with his dad about what the proper word for lunch was.  He listened to what I had been taught in school, and then proclaimed that it was “Parisian” city people French.  Petit dejeuner for breakfast was what fashionable people who stayed up late called it.  He explained that “dejeuner” literally means “to stop fasting”, just like our English word “breakfast” can be broken down into “break-fast”.  Traditionally lunch was called diner, very similar to the English “dinner”.  Supper was souper in French, because soup was always the main meal.

Lately I have been making soup to go along with dinner.  We actually eat a lot less this way, but end up feeling full and satisfied.  R. Blondeau divides soups into two categories:  Rich or Thin, depending on whether or not meat or seafood is added.  This soup could be “Riche” or “Maigre” depending on if you use broth or water.  Many of the soups that do not have broth, meat, or seafood include milk.

POTAGE AU POTIRON

Remove the skin, seeds, and strings from a slice of a beautiful, well-fleshed pumpkin.  Cut into pieces and boil in a pot with just a little water and salt and pepper, for a little more than a quarter of an hour.  Remove from the heat, and add half a liter of milk.  Return to the fire and cook until it boils again.  Serve this soup hot, after adding a pat of butter.

 

POTAGE AU POTIRON – A MODERN VERSION

1 small to medium-sized pumpkin

Water or broth

2 cups of milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Butter to serve

1. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and strings.  Cut into smaller pieces and peel off the rind with a sharp knife.  Chop into bite-sized pieces and put in a medium-sized pot with a little water.

2. Season pumpkin with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

3. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of milk.  Return to the fire until it boils again.

4. Stir in a pat of butter, taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Notes:  This soup turned out to be a delicious mixture of sweet and savory, and brought out the nutting, sweet flavor of the pumpkin.

heirloom pumpkins

{These French recipes are from a cookbook titled La Cuisine:  Guide Practique de la Ménagère by Chef R. Blondeau.  This book was passed down to me from my great-grandmother, who was from Alsace, a North-eastern region on the Rhine river plain in France.  It was published in 1930 as a guide for household cooks.

 I am translating the recipes from French, testing them out with home-grown or raised food, and re-writing them in a modern format}

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