Penda’s Samhain Potluck
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(This is a glorified recipe thread – originally posted on another forum).
You are cordially invited to Penda’s Party of Past Lives, Celebrating the Passed on and Passed Over.
Because this is make-believe and we have all of the time in the world, you are required to bring two dishes. Give me two – appetizers, main course, dessert – doesn’t matter, just bring me two.
I’ll start with Soup Course.
Pumpkin and Wild Rice Soup for Samhain
- 2 cups cooked wild rice
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 can (16-ounces) pumpkin (for thicker soup, use 2)
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Chives or parsley for garnish
The part that takes the longest for me is trying to figure out how much rice I want. I like my soups like stews – nice and thick and warming from the inside out. This means Math is involved so after trying to figure it out myself, I finally break down and find the husband who reminds me that Rice tends to double and to not go nuts. For more rice in this dish, I recommend 1 and one half cups (uncooked) wild rice made according to package directions. It’ll give you a soup you can chew, and if you’re like me you’ll be eating this while sitting outside feeding other people’s brats high doses of refined sugar. The chewing motion will keep you warm.
While your rice is cooking, you’ll be wanting to get all of the other bits of happiness together because as the rice finishes, you’ll be adding it to the soup. It’s all about synchronicity, which is perfect because if your Halloween night is done right, the police will definitely get involved (see what I did there – I implied you’ll do something illegal!).
Chop your onion into pieces that could potentially be snorted by a toddler. You can use your best guess but if you have one around, the trial and error method works best. In a large Dutch Oven (or a big stew pot, whatever isn’t currently rendering baby fat) melt the butter and sauté the onions. You’ll want your onions the color of a three-day old scab, which is to say lightly brown and a bit translucent. Done over medium heat (because the husband put a regulator on the knobs due to “The Incident”) it should take about 15 minutes, about half the cooking time of the rice.
Drown your onions in chicken broth. You can use vegetable broth, but as it’s a harvest holiday, somewhere along the line an animal should have given its life. To tease the onions into thinking they may be rescued, drop in the pumpkin by spoonfuls and chuckle to yourself at the folly of hope. Create your own maelstrom with several good stirs to drive home the finality. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes. To the surviving onions it’ll be like turning off the sun.
Now is a good time to check on your rice. I don’t know about you, but my rice likes to burn itself to the bottom of the pot. I think it’s an emo-thing as they can’t cut themselves, but they can be all angsty and affect the “blacker-than-thou” bit to your cookware if you don’t keep an eye on them.
For the rice that have chosen to go on and become productive members of society, they may be added to the pumkiny broth. There will be no surviving onions at this point, and the rice will use this time to claim the corpses for their God – which will be you. Sprinkle upon them white pepper to show you accept their tribute. Cover once more and give everything in the pot a chance to consummate their new relationships. If their anything like my last boyfriend, 10 minutes should be more than enough time. Stirring in the cream is like wrapping a glass in a napkin, stamping on it and yelling “Mazel-tov!” as the happiness in the pot is just that great. Bring everything to one final boil and serve sprinkled with chives or parsley, like the funeral wreaths upon the sea in memory of the fallen onions.