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Pumpkin soup from Randall’s Ordinary

Serves four.

Randall’s Ordinary has fallen victim to the Connecticut casino craze; it stands, or crumbles, derelict at the border of Foxwoods. The Pequots bought it with a promise to keep on but have shuttered it instead. Apparently fast food ‘food courts’ court higher profits. Before its demise, the Ordinary prepared reasonably authentic renditions of colonial dishes, including those prepared over open fire in and around a hearth. It was justifiably a destination in itself. This is the bfia adaptation of its soup.

Pumpkin-4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
-about 1 cup of chopped onion
-2 cups cooked pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
- ½ teaspoon allspice
-about ¼ teaspoon cayenne
-about ½ teaspoon mace
-about ½ teaspoon nutmeg
-1 heaped teaspoon pepper
-1 quart pork (preferred) or chicken stock
-about ¾ cup half and half
-minced chives, parsley, scallion greens or a combination of any of them

  1. Melt the butter over medium low heat in a deep enough pot and soften the onions but do not let them color.
  2. Meanwhile heat the stock and then add it to the cooked onion with the seasonings, bring to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes until the flavors marry.
  3. Check the soup for salt, then stir in the half and half. Cook to heat the soup but do not let it boil or it may curdle.
  4. Serve the soup garnished with the greens.


- The original recipe calls for 1½ teaspoons of nutmeg in lieu of our combination of allspice, cayenne, mace and nutmeg. Our seasonings, we think, are more authentic to the recipe’s genesis.

- The original recipe also fails to specify what to do with the pumpkin before adding it to the soup. Is it cut into pieces or cooked and pureed? In context the recipe will not work unless you use cooked pumpkin puree.

- The soup seems highly seasoned and that is appropriate, both in its seventeenth century context and because pumpkin is both flavorful and aggressively bland.

- If we take this soup into the eighteenth century we may add a discretionary jolt of curry powder with the other spices at Step 2. The Editor usually adds a generous teaspoon. It is an improvement.

- britishfoodinamerica is indebted to David Beebe, chef alumnus of the Ordinary, for our copy of the source of this recipe. It is Original Recipes lovingly shared from the kitchen of Randall’s Ordinary Landmark Inn & Restaurant Established in 1685. A mouthful, yes, and yet it has neither an attributed author nor date of publication. Its recipes are, if sometimes sketchy, also simple and sound: This is a good place to visit the tables of colonial New England. We will return to this good little book to give it the exposition it deserves but cannot resist sharing one of its authentically English recipes, for peas cooked with lettuce, that compliments the devil without sycophancy. Look for it accompanying the devilled kidneys recipe in the practical.