Pumpkin Beef Soup

Hello, hello everyone!  We are back! If you followed me before, then you know I took an extended break from blogging. Well, here we are, with a new website, new look, new beginning! I am so excited to be with you again. Thanks for being patient and thanks for you continued support, even when I wasn’t blogging.

For those of you new to my blog, just a word about my blogging style. I hate really wordy blog posts that tell you someone’s whole life story or events of the past week. Frankly, I just want to get to the darn recipe!  With that in mind, when I write text before sharing the actual recipe, please know that it usually consists of helpful hints and tricks, nutritional info about the ingredients, special procedures to use when making the recipe, and so on…I promise I will try to not BORE  you with unnecessary details. I know you are busy and I respect your time!

To kick things off, I want to share an amazing recipe with you. I sort of made this up on the fly. I had a sugar pie pumpkin (smaller than the average pumpkin and sweeter!) and some sort of meat–I don’t remember if it was a London Broil or Chuck roast. In any case, I thought it might be really interesting to combine the 2 to make a soup. And–viola!–out came Pumpkin Beef Soup.

There are a few tricks here. First, a very rich beef stock; I put a lot of meat in the water. Second, using the smaller, sugar pie pumpkin as opposed to the standard larger size. The smaller pumpkins are sweeter and that goes very well with a savory beef stock. Third, slow cooking. The longer this soup cooks, and the lower the flame, the richer the soup tastes.

If you don’t have pumpkin, you can easily make this soup with a sweet squash. I made it the other day with butternut squash and carrots and it tasted great! You might even try sweet potatoes. Yum!

Feel free to choose your cut of beef. I actually like using neck bones for a few reasons. The bones add a rich savoriness to the broth that beef without bones just doesn’t have. The meat also comes off very easily, so you don’t have to spend as much time cutting it up. Finally, the bones, themselves, add an extra zap of healthiness. Have you seen all the articles and advertisements out there for bone broth?  They are finding the longer you cook the bones, the more collagen is released. Collagen helps build the skin and nails, strengthens the joints, and is very good for osteoperosis. I have a friend with osteoperosis and she is a big advocate of bone broth. The neck bones do have less meat, so you probably have to use more of them, though. This just means more flavor and more collagen!

Now, here’s the last hint before I give you the recipe: you BAKE the pumpkin BEFORE you cut into it. This is a little trick I learned from my mom and it saves a lot of effort and potential for injury. It may sound weird, but I have done this with not only pumpkin but other hard squashes and it really works!  Promise!

Ohhh, this soup is good. My family really loves it. It got the stamp of approval from one of my sons who is a VERY picky eater, so if he likes it, it must be good!  If you try the recipe, please post a comment and let me know how it turned out!

Pumpkin Beef Soup

2 meaty neck bones

1 sugar pie pumpkin

1 medium onion

2-3 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

To start: Place whole, uncut pumpkin on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until soft. This will make the pumpkin quite easy to cut and then de-seed. Do NOT cut the pumpkin before baking, as this can lead to injury.

Put the neck bones in a crock pot. Chop onions and garlic, then add them in. Fill crock pot with water until 2/3 full and turn on high heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut pumpkin in half and remove the seeds (save them for later—see pumpkin seed recipe below!) and stringy parts. Remove the skin—it should peel right off. Cut pulp roughly and add to the broth. Cook on high for about 3 hours or until meat is tender.

Once done, let the soup cool a bit. Remove the neck bones and separate the meat from the bones. Set aside. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can just put the liquid in a blender or food processor and that will do the trick. Return meat to the crock pot and turn heat down. Keep warm until ready to eat.