Some day's I can really miss the place I grew up, and I guess that's a natural feeling if you were born and raised in an entirely different country let alone a different continent. I grew up in Belgium (Europe). I was born and raised there. The fall and winter days are the days I miss Belgium the most...I miss the fall colors and the kerstmarkt(Christmas market), sinterklaas (saint Nicholas...not to be mistaken for st.nick!)the colder weather...etc
It's half way through November here and I am running around in shorts and a t-shirt so wrong on so many accounts!
well anyways why I miss Belgium:
When I was in high school I studied "social technical applied sciences" this was a course that had a broad a selection of possible degrees one of those being a restaurant or hotel manager. I had always wanted to be either one of those growing up so this seemed a good choice at the time. We had 4 hours of "cooking" a week, it wasn't just cooking it was learning to put together menu's, arrange flowers, setting different types of tables based on their function, even how to preserve the color of veggies while cooking and tons of other neat and useful tips...
We'd have to cook a dish and learn the science behind each step then serve it as if we were running a restaurant and our classmates were high end customers. It was really fun and educating.
Our cooking class would start on Monday morning we would have to be at school at 7:30am. we'd all head out to the local market (this was a weekly market where all the local farmers and sellers could conjugate and sell their produce) the market would open at 6am and close by noon or 1pm. we would head out there as a class and buy the produce we would need for our recipes that day. We learned first hand how to pick and choose choice pieces of meat, fish and veggies and cheese.This particular day we were going to make soup, it was fall and the weather had started to get cooler. One thing that I really liked about the Belgians is that they would love to make soup, it was made with the veggies available in that season and was served right before your main meal.
- It was warm so it warmed you up.
- It would fill you up just enough so that you wouldn't over indulge on the starches and protein, but still getting all the nutrients you need for a far less price.
- Soup is healthy...less obesity
I LOVE soup and this particular recipe is one of the recipes we made that day in class...it's a typical Belgian soup and is so good and creamy (you don't even need cream to make it creamy, the potato does a good job of it).
It's made with pumpkin but it does not include cinnamon as we Americans seem to add to all pumpkin recipes. I remember bringing an all American pumpkin pie to class one day to share lol the kids thought it was the weirdest and strangest concoction ever lol and I must say cinnamon does not go over so well over there. nutmeg on the other hand is an entirely different story ;-)
This recipe brings back memories...it's found in "Ons kookboek" and I've translated it for you (I so badly want to get my hands on that book! but they don't ship it to the USA)
I hope you enjoy!
Pompoensoep (Pumpkin Soup):
- 1 small pumpkin peeled and cubed or half of a normal sized pumpkin
- 1 peeled and cubed russet potato
- 1 leek chopped (only use the white part of the leek, if you use the green part the orange color of the soup will turn brown!)
- 1/2 large onion diced
- 1 large carrot chopped
- 8 cups water
- 8 vegetable bouillon cubes (I use the Maggi brand green/yellow box)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Splash of cream per serving
- In a stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, leek and carrot until all are tender. Add the pumpkin cubes to the onion, leek and carrot and saute further.
- Mix the vegetable stock cubes with the 8 cups of warm water until cubes are dissolved. Add the vegetable stock to the pumpkin. Turn heat to high let the soup come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let the soup simmer for 45 min till all vegetables are soft.
- Puree the soup with a food processor or blender.(the soup will be hot and will produce pressure in the blender so make sure you cover the blender lid with a towel so you don't burn yourself)
- Serve the soup in bowls and pour 2-3 Tbsp of cream in each bowl (optional)
- If you want to shake it up a bit add 1 Tbsp of soft goats cheese, bacon, apple..