Child of the pure, unclouded brow
And dreaming eyes of wonder!
Though time be fleet and I and thou
Are half a life asunder,
Thy loving smile will surely hail
The love-gift of a fairy tale.
I think my love for pumpkins stems from childhood memories of fairytales. This beautiful pumpkin is actually called a Fairytale and comes from the South of France. It is also known as the Musquee de Provence and quite popular in the open markets of France. Because of the pumpkins deep ribs and flattened shape it is said to resemble a cheese wheel. It’s easy to slice the pumpkin along the ribs and I’ve heard that the French will buy a wedge or two at market where the farmer will actually slice them and weigh them in for sale. The Musquee de Provence is very popular for making a traditional pumpkin soup.
Although I have not grown the Fairytale in my garden, it becomes available at market around the same time I’m bringing in baskets of cinnamon basil from my herbal harvest. This is what influenced me into trying the basil in my cooking with pumpkins. The Traditional Country French Pumpkin and Squash soups are best served with french bread and croutons. The cinnamon basil is already one of my favorite herbs to use in my french bread recipe. Including some in the soup helps give the dish more of a Mediterranean flavor that is incredible when mixed with other vegetables and herbs.
To make a soup using such splendid vegetables and herbs, one must make an excellent soup base. Chicken is the best for this recipe and the best is simply boiling some chicken pieces to make your own stalk. The flavor of a real chicken base can only be achieved from a real chicken and spices that can’t be compared to any box variety. With that being said, it is time to break out the soup pot and create a Fairytale Pumpkin Soup with fresh spices and herbs from the garden.
4 cups pumpkin, chopped
3 or 4 chopped red and blue potatoes
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 cups homemade chicken broth
1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
1 roasted red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon freshly minced lemon grass (dried can be used)
1 teaspoon cumin
strip the flowers and chop the leaves from one nice long stem of cinnamon basil
2 whole bay leaves
A pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Garlic Powder, to taste
1/2 cup of light cream (optional) or use mash potatoes to thicken when dairy is not in your diet.
A bit of extra whipped cream to garnish and fresh minced parsley(optional)
Boil 2 or 3 chicken pieces in a large stock pot with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool and remove bones and skin from the chicken. Shred chicken into broth
Drizzle in the olive oil. Add all the vegetables, herbs and spices and let simmer for about 1 hour.
Add the cream or mash potatoes near the end of your cooking time and stir in until warm and thickened. For extra creaminess, add a bit of fresh whipped cream on top and sprinkle a small bit of nutmeg and ginger on top with a bit of fresh minced parsley.