Today, Barry Berg invites us to try his recipe for Pumpkin Lentil soup. Not only is Barry the founding partner of the Berg Larsen Group, but he’s also an exceptional party host. Here, he shares not only his recipe but also his secret to entertaining friends and family.
When I first lived downtown at Stone Arch, recognizing that I was likely to be someone’s guest for Thanksgiving dinner in future years, I decided to invite friends the “night before Thanksgiving”. This night, a soup and wine dinner is a tradition I’ve now done for 22 consecutive years. In 2020, due to the pandemic, I made soup and delivered it to guests, rather than hosting the event during the heart of COVID.
What began as an evening with perhaps 14-15 guests has grown to accommodate closer to 45-50 guests, with the same formula from 22 years ago: Walter and I make 3 soups from scratch, invite guests to bring hors d’oeuvres, salads, and desserts, while we provide the soup and wine. The food doesn’t compete at all with Thanksgiving dinner but is a terrific start to the holiday season.
The attached recipe for Pumpkin Lentil soup was one of the soups I made for several years, even though we’ve since graduated to a variety of other options: e.g., this year, we offered jambalaya, a lemongrass shrimp soup, and a parsnip pear soup.
Ingredients: Makes 2 quarts, 6 servings
❖ 1 large onion - chopped
❖ ¾ cup butter or margarine
❖ 4 ¾ cups chicken broth
❖ 1 cup canned pumpkin
❖ ⅓ cup lentils
❖ ¼ tsp pepper
❖ ¼ tsp marjoram
❖ ¼ tsp thyme
❖ Dash Tabasco
❖ 1 cup half and half - much less (optional)
❖ Salt to taste
❖ Sauté chopped onion in butter/margarine
❖ Add chicken broth, pumpkin, lentils, pepper, marjoram, and thyme
❖ Simmer for one hour or until lentils are tender - purée
❖ Add Tabasco, half and half, and salt
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