Saturday, October 9, 2010

Putting Out the Pumpkin

Throughout my childhood, the word curry made everyone in the house shudder.  This innocent spice blend was ostracized from my Irish/English/German household.  I think there was a dish that my Irish grandmother made in which she used curry and my mother warned us about it, as in, "Watch out!  Nana always puts curry in her..." 

To this day, curry will evoke an "ewww" from most of the bunch, except for my adventurous foodie sister and me.  She's the one who turned me on to it after she discovered an affinity for Indian cuisine.  Following her lead, I began trying some Indian dishes and realized what I had been missing all these years.  Curry!  

According to McCormick's New Spice Cookbook, curry powder is a blend of 15 or more ground spices.  It originated in India, where people mix their own spices for different curries.  The golden color results from turmeric, but a blend may also contain ginger, fenugreek, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, and pepper, as well as other spices.  It can be mild or spicy - dominate a dish or simply enhance it - depending on how heavy your hand is.  It imparts an earthy flavor and pungent aroma. 

In this recipe for Curried Pumpkin Soup, curry provides a warm undertone for the sweet pumpkin.   This soup is ideal for a crisp fall day, and the perceived richness of it belies the fact that it is good for you.  You can use regular evaporated milk, but I used fat-free with great results.  You'll notice that I included mushrooms in this recipe and that's because I made this soup for ME!   Now maybe you'll make it for YOU - except the curry haters, and I see you grimacing!

Curry pumps up the flavor of this satisfying pumpkin soup.

Curried Pumpkin Soup
(Southern Living - 1996 Annual Recipes)

2 T butter or margarine
1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 C chopped onion
2 T all-purpose flour
1 T curry powder
3 C chicken broth
2 C canned pumpkin
1 T honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
Garnishes:  sour cream, chopped fresh chives

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan; add mushrooms and onion, and cook until tender, stirring often.
  2. Stir in flour and curry powder; gradually add chicken broth, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened. 
  3. Stir in pumpkin and next 4 ingredients; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in milk, and cook, stirring constantly until thoroughly heated.  Garnish, if desired.  I like chives.
Notes:  I used low-sodium chicken broth and found I needed to add more salt, so taste and see.

Yield:  6 1/2 cups.


  1. The last time I had curry it was in deviled eggs. It ruined the eggs and that did it for me and curry--I won't even have the stuff in my kitchen. My children are adventurous eaters and will eat foods with that spice but that old childhood memory of mine with the deviled eggs, devils me still.

  2. Curry is one of those spices that needs to be introduced to the palate more than once for it to grab you. Granted some will never be fans of the spice but it defines Indian food and Indian food is sooooooooooooo good!

  3. oh, dear neighbor, that soup was absolutely delicious!! Thank you soooo much!!! I love curry and mushrooms, so I felt as if you had made it for me!! :)