Project Wonderful

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Scarborough Pumpkin Soup

I'm calling this "Scarborough Pumpkin Soup" because it uses parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Get it?

Damn, I'm creative.

This of course, got me thinking about the song and the significance of the ingredients.

The tune, made popular by Simon and Garfunkel in 1965,  is officially called "Scarborough Fair," and is a traditional English ballad that originated in the 1600's, though the ingredients mentioned first appeared some time around the 1800's. Apparently it's a tale of a young man instructing the listener to instruct his former love to perform a series of impossible tasks - like making a shirt without a seam and then washing it in a dry well. If she completes these tasks, he will take her back.

So basically it's "ye olde English" way of saying "I'll take you back when monkeys fly out of my butt."

According to, the four ingredients symbolize four virtues that the subject of the song is requesting of his former love:
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Allegedly aids in digestion and removes the bitterness from food.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) 
Symbolizes strength.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Represents faithfulness, sensibility, love and remembrance.  
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Symbolizing courage.
Regardless of the reasons, the four herbs work well together in soup, which is why I decided to use them in the first place.

Plus, I still had some leftover pumpkin puree that I needed to get rid of to make room for more pumpkin puree this year.

I made the soup using some duck stock that I spent the morning making (I threw some duck parts in a pot of water and let it simmer for 4 hours.) You dont really need to use duck stock. Chicken stock works just as well. I just had it available and decided to use it. I do have to say that it gave an incredible flavor to the soup.

Also this recipe uses the three ingredients, onions, carrots and celery as a base. In French cooking, this is known as a mirepoix (pronounced "meer-pwah") and is the starting point for a lot of French soups, stews and sauces.

So now that you know the secret meanings behind the herbs and the fancy name for chopped veggies in a soup, here's how to make this awesome creation:


  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, shaved/ peeled
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 apple, cored/ slice
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups duck broth (chicken broth works good too)
  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • 1 tbs dried sage
  • 1 tbs dried rosemary
  • 1 tbs dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot add the carrots celery and onions. 
Let them cook down just a little and release some of their flavor.

Add the apples and stir.

Add the garlic and stir. Dont let it brown. 
In goes the pumpkin, followed immediately by the broth.
In go the herbs.
I like to place them in my hands and crush them a little more as they go into the soup.

A quarter-sized amount of dried herbs in my palm equals about a tablespoon. 
Cover, and let the whole thing simmer for about 35 minutes.

After simmering, blend using a stick blender or a regular blender with the center clear section of the lid removed and a paper towel in its place. 
This allows the steam to escape without exploding the soup everywhere. 

Once blended, return the soup to the pot and serve it with a pinch of fresh parsley on the top.


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