Roast pumpkin and ginger soup
The golden leaves of autumn, the first feeling of winter chill, a bounty of deep orange pumpkins and inevitably the first sniffs and sneezes of the season. Only one thing to do – gather up pumpkins (or butternut squash) and some fresh ginger and treat yourself to this seductive silky soup that just happens to pack a serious antioxidant punch.
This is one of those recipes that you really can adjust and tweak to your own taste. I often add some carrots or red lentils and I love to make the soup with orange zest and juice too (thinned with some cream for a dinner party). Sometimes I feel in a curry mood and add some curry powder and turmeric. I am guessing that it will work well with smoked paprika as well but have yet to try that combo. Sometimes I garnish with olive oil and toasted pumpkin seeds and sometimes I add cream and a little crispy bacon on top. And for dinner parties I serve in individual cups and saucers – very pretty. Its such a fabulous soup base that you can develop your own twist very easily.
The method is simplicity itself. The roasting makes life easy (no peeling and chopping a hard uncooked pumpkin) and deepens the flavor at the same time so really there is very little to do except blitz and season. Once the pumpkin is roasted the soup takes just minutes.
1 medium pumpkin,
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic chopped roughly
2 tbsp olive oil,
50g ginger, peeled chopped finely
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 liter chicken or vegetable stock
Optional: 300g boiled carrots (great use of leftovers)
Pumpkin seeds – 50g
Preheat oven to 180C
1. Cut the pumpkin in half, or if a really big pumpkin into quarters. Place on a baking tin and bake. Nothing else needed at this stage – any aromatic expensive olive oil is just going to evaporate off so just leave it naked to bake.
2. Chop the onion up roughly (nobody is going to report you to the onion chopping police because the soup is blitzed up) and fry in the same pan you will make the soup in, just gently until translucent. Add the garlic and fry very gently. Add the coriander seeds, ginger and turmeric.
3. When your pumpkin is cooked (approx 45mins-1 hour) a knife will slice through it like butter. Leave to cool until you can handle the heat. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Scoop out the flesh which will be smooth and soft and place in the pan with the onions and spices. If you are using carrots add them now. Note that this same flesh can be used for pumpkin pie and for pumpkin cup cakes, so if you have loads and loads – freeze it!
4. While you are scooping out the pumpkin put the seeds in to roast (10-15 mins) and release their flavors.
5. Add 1 liter of your stock (if it’s made with a cube it wont be the end of the world) and bring to a boil.
6. Once the pumpkin is ready, add this to the onion and ginger mix and add the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes.
7. Blitz your soup until it is completely smooth. Add more stock or boiling water or milk if it is a little thick.
8. Serve in large bowls sprinkled with the roasted pumpkin seeds scattered over the top, some parsley or lovage (“leustean”) and drizzled with good olive oil. Eat with some great bread and feel a whole lot better.