Black Bean Soup in a Pumpkin
SERVING SIZE: serves six
six 2-lb. pumpkins (they'll be small enough to hold in one hand)
1 lb black beans (if you get them pre-packaged, it's fine if you have a few ounces less)
4 strips bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped or smashed
2 quarts chicken stock, plus water as needed (we used two of those strange boxes that don't need refrigeration)
2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 sprigs each fresh thyme and oregano (or 2 tsp. dried of each, or instead, 1 Tbsp. of cumin and/or a cup of chopped cilantro)
salt and pepper
2 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob
Preheat oven to 400.
Cut off the pumpkin tops and clean out the seeds. Rub the insides of the clean pumpkins with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until soft. (To make kids happy, rinse the seeds, making sure to get rid of every last bit of icky pumpkin residue. Sprinkle them with salt and roast them on a cookie sheet next to the pumpkins at for about 15 minutes.) Fill with black bean soup:
Cover beans with water (the water should come about 2" above the beans). Bring to a boil for two minutes, then turn off the heat and let the pot sit for a few hours until you're ready to cook. Drain the beans and rinse them with fresh water.
Fry the bacon in a soup pot until crisp. Add the diced onion and celery; saut until soft, about five minutes. Add garlic; saut for just thirty seconds. Add the chicken stock, soaked beans, tomato paste, herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer for about two hours. Add more chicken stock or water as needed. Add the corn and cook for five more minutes.