Recipes - Vegetarian

Easy pumpkin soup

This recipe is great for those days when you want to cook something simple without having to worry about precise timings or needing lots of ingredients. It’s also great for a family feast because it only takes a little more effort to double or triple the quantities. Or, if you’ve planned a late night at work then prepare this soup the day before, re-heat when you get home and serve it within seconds – removing any temptation to reach for a take-away menu.

Pumpkin and chestnut soupChoosing pumpkin

Pumpkin comes in many different varieties – some are great for cooking and others are best saved for carving at Halloween. Here’s a few common varieties – at least one of which is available in Australia all year round. They all work well in this recipe:

  • Kent – typically over 3kg in size and have dark green skin covered in yellow marks. The flesh is sweet in flavour. Also known as “Jap” pumpkins.
  • Butternut –  have paler skin and are easy to spot being pear-shaped rather than round. They’re especially good for making soup and it’s easy to pick up a small one (1-2kg).
  • Queensland Blue – the name says it all. They’re large at 5-7kg, native to Queensland and have a distinctive blue-grey skin that’s covered in deep ribs.

Whichever variety you choose ensure the skin is firm and dry with no bruises. And store it away from direct sunlight. And, if you buy a pumpkin portion rather than a whole one then store it in the fridge for up to a few days (any longer and it will start to dry out).

Ingredients (a good portion for two)

  • 1kg pumpkin
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 500-750ml vegetable (or chicken) stock
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 fresh or dried chillies
  • 250 ml natural yoghurt or crème fraiche
  • Toasted sourdough bread (to serve)

Pumpkin soup ingredientsTwists:

  • Reduce the calorie and carbohydrate content by replacing some of the pumpkin with cauliflower florets.
  • If you have a few potatoes or carrots in the pantry that need to be used, or even a few sticks of celery, throw them in too.
  • Home-made chicken stock really adds to the flavour.
  • Spice it up – so many spices work well in this soup. Consider adding one or more of  ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, coriander, paprika, cinnamon.

Steps to prepare

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and add a couple of tablespoons of coconut or olive oil to a large roasting tin.

2. Roughly dice the onion, pumpkin and garlic (and also the cauliflower, potatoes or carrots if you’re trying this twist). Take the skin off first but don’t worry at all about precision.

3. Throw everything into the roasting tin then add the cumin and chillies and season with salt and pepper. Also add any other spices at this stage too (probably a max of 1tbsp in total for the quantities above).

4. Give everything a good mix and then cover with a lid or foil and add to the pre-heated oven. Cook for 45 minutes or so or until everything is soft enough to blend.

5. Grab a hand blender and go nuts until you have a puree like consistency. Then add the stock and stir.

6. If you’re serving within an hour then keep warm on a low simmer. Add all of the natural yoghurt or crème fraiche to the soup and then stir before tucking in. Or reserve some to serve alongside the soup.

Pumpkin and chestnut soupThat’s it. Easy. And don’t forget the sourdough bread – great for mopping up the last few spoonfuls and ensuring your plates are almost clean enough to bypass the dishwasher!

Love pumpkins? For more tips and other great recipes you may like

By Laura (Feast Wisely)

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