Gourd Soup

Original Recipe

Should be made of full-grown gourds but not those that have hard skins; slice three or four and put them in a stewpan, with two or three onions, and a good bit of butter; set them over a slow fire till quite tender (be careful not to let them burn); then add two ounces of crust of bread and two quarts of good consomme, season with salt and cayenne pepper; boil ten minutes or a quarter of an hour; skim off all the fat, and pass it through a tamis; then make it quite hot, and serve up with fried bread.

(For “gourds” use small squash or pumpkin. A tamis is a sieve.)

Modern Adaptation

3 onions
4-5 pounds butternut squash
¼ lb. butter
½ loaf of stale, crusty bread
2 quarts either beef or chicken broth
cayenne pepper
salt
additional butter or oil for frying bread

Peel and slice onions. Peel and slice squash. Melt ¼ lb. butter in largest pot. Saute onions and squash in butter until tender, stirring frequently. Cover with broth and simmer until squash and onions are very tender. While soup is simmering, grate 1 cup bread crumbs from loaf. Cut remaining bread into cubes and fry in butter or oil in batches. Just before serving, press soup through colander or sieve to puree. Thicken with bread crumbs. Add salt and cayenne pepper (careful not to add too much cayenne!) to taste. Serve with 3-4 pieces of fried bread on top.

This receipt was originally published in 1832 in The Cook's Own Book (Munroe and Francis, Boston). Modern Adaptation offered by the foodways staff at Old Sturbridge Village.