Stout pumpkin: striking fall decor, beautiful late winter soup

licheese

Since November, our living room has been accented by a large, attractive pumpkin from Riverland Farm. It’s slightly flattened shape and tan color has earned it the variety name “cheese pumpkin” since it resembles a large wheel of cheese with a tan rind, not because of any flavor association with cheese.  Anyways, this pumpkin has been sitting quietly in our wood-stove heated living room all winter, appreciated as decor as much or perhaps more than food.  It was not treated with the usual “keep in a cool, dry location” storage advice for winter squash.

So, it was with trepidation that I finally sliced the cheese pumpkin in half, figuring I would salvage whatever part of it was still okay by mixing it into a soup with other winter squash remnants from our fall Shared Harvest distributions and perhaps some carrots and sweet potatoes to add flavor and body.

And voila!  Beautifully firm, super moist, totally intact!!
cheese pumpkin
Not only did it survive 31/2 months in my warm living room, but the seeds were happily sprouting inside with no detriment to the flesh.

After scraping out the seeds (I wonder if these sprouts would grow pumpkins true to type?  I don’t have much space in my garden for growing huge pumpkins, so into the compost bin went the seeds…perhaps they will volunteer anyways…), I put the two halves face down on buttered cookie sheets in a 375 deg. oven with a tray underneath to catch juices. About an hour later I scraped the nicely cooked flesh out of the now wrinkly, limp peel, that peel that had so stoutly protected the precious flesh from rot, intruders, and dessication since November.

Instead of hiding the pumpkin among many orange vegetables, I decided to showcase it’s bright orange flesh, complementing white beans (Maine grown from Charley Baer) and corn (shaved and frozen from Busa Farm in September), and shallots (Picadilly grown) in a nice chili.  Here is the recipe.

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