Pumpkin Soup :
It’s almost a cliché isn’t it – to post a pumpkin soup recipe at this time of year? And that’s why I haven’t done it, until now. Although I have never posted my recipe for this soup before doesn’t mean that I haven’t been making it. Oh yes, many a pumpkin has found itself in my soup pan. The only thing was I was never completely satisfied. I tried all kinds of ways to get the flavour, texture and even the colour right. I used spices and herbs to try and get there, but it didn’t really do it for me. I mean, my soup was good, but it just wasn’t hitting that sweet spot. This year I had a bit of an epiphany on the pumpkin front. It started, as so many of my recipes do, a bit by accident. I say accident, but I’m only trying to cover up my compulsion to buy food (some women buy shoes, I buy ingredients). This time I couldn’t resist all the different shapes and colours of the pumpkins at the market, so I came home laden. One of the pumpkins I picked up was the red Kuri pumpkin – a new one for me. You never know what you’re going to get with a new pumpkin until you open it. I mean, the colour, flavour and of course the flesh to seed to skin ratio. This was perfect, a good size too, so easy to handle. Thin skin, easy to peel, bright, sweet and plentiful flesh. When I was preparing the pumpkin my mind drifted to a red pepper that I had in the fridge so it found itself in there too. I think this has given the soup the edge, these two ingredients, adding that great colour and extra little bit of sweetness.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
1 x red kuri pumpkin (about 1.2kg / 2.5lb), peeled, de-seeded and rough cubes about 2.5cm / 1in.
2 x tbsp olive oil
2 x large onions peeled and roughly chopped
4 x large garlic cloves chopped roughly
1 x red pepper, de-seeded and chopped roughly
1.5 x liters / 2.5 pts of good quality chicken stock or vegetable stock (no cubes please, please)
½ tsp nutmeg
1 x tbsp of honey or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
To Serve (Optional)
Some natural yogurt
Sliced Almonds (walnuts or hazelnuts are good too)
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid and add the onion, garlic, pepper and pumpkin. This should be done on a medium heat so that the vegetables soften a little but don’t colour. It’s nice to keep the vibrant colour of the pumpkin. Cover your pan and allow to sweat for about 5 minutes.
- Add the stock, nutmeg, salt (just a little – you’re stock will contain some), pepper and honey, stir through and allow the soup to cook at a gentle boil until the pumpkin has softened and cinnamon.
- Then use a hand mixer or liquidize the soup until it becomes a purée. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve dressed with some natural yogurt and a sprinkling of almond slices
Tips and Variations
- Don’t worry if you can’t get the red kuri pumpkin, any type will do. I like the red kuri because of it’s extra orangey colour and I think it gives a smoother texture.
- Swap the black pepper for white pepper to give it more of a kick.
- For a creamier more filling version use parsnips or sweet potato as well as squash. This works well as a mealtime soup.
- Another mealtime soup idea is to add a tin of chickpeas (drained) just before you whizz it up.
- I would always recommend good quality stock to make soups as this is will affect the flavour greatly. Try and go to your butcher for this or some supermarkets do nice ones too. The stock cube tends to just be a little bomb of salt and trans fat.
- Pumpkin likes spice, so if you want a hot version, add some chili, this could be in the form of fresh, powdered or dried.
- Serve with a bit of crusty bread or a fresh side salad – works well with a goats cheese salad.