Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet Recipes
If you take care not to break the pumpkin shell when removing the pulp, you can use it as a serving bowl.
Origin: Cartier Brébeuf National Historic Site
Period: 18th Century
Course: Soups and Starters
© National Archives of Canada
The first explorers, including Jacques Cartier (pictured above), confused the squash (Curcubita) of the New World with melons, which were of European origin. Squash soon crossed the Atlantic, and by the 17th century, pumpkins and other varieties of squash were well-known in Europe. Recipes for squash can be found in cookbooks dating from the mid-17th century. Bonnefons, as an example, devotes an entire chapter to them in his Délices de la campagne, first published in 1654. Marie de l'Incarnation, an Ursuline, used them to make soups, preserves and fritters the European way.
This story comes from the book A Taste of History: The Origins of Quebec's Gastronomy. Yvon Desloges and Marc Lafrance. Éditions de la Chenelière, 1989. Montréal 1989. English-French book. ISBN : 2-89310-028-7.
- 3 tbsp | 45 ml butter
- 1½ lbs | 675 g pumpkin, cut in cubes
- ½ tsp | 2 ml salt
- 4 cloves
- ½ tsp | 2 ml nutmeg
- 5 cups | 1.2 litres water
- ½ cup | 125 ml whipping cream (35%)
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Season the cubes of pumpkin with the salt, cloves and nutmeg, then brown for 5-7 minutes. Turn up the heat, add the water, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and simmer 30-35 minutes, covered. Let cool slightly, then run the pumpkin through a blender or food processor.
- Warm the cream over medium heat without letting it boil. Blend a few spoonfuls of the pumpkin with the cream. Slowly whisk this mixture into the soup and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
- To serve, pour over a slice of thick bread.
Recipe tested by Chef Scott Warrick, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism
This recipe is adapted from the book A Taste of History: The Origins of Quebec's Gastronomy. Yvon Desloges and Marc Lafrance. Éditions de la Chenelière. Montréal 1989. English-French book. ISBN : 2-89310-028-7. The authors found the original recipe in L'École des ragoûts, which dates to 1700.