I merrily carved a pumpkin with the children today and spared its guts and seeds into a mixing bowl, umm’ing and ahh’ing over what delicious vegetarian recipes to make this year. It’s safe to say that the grey skies, cold wind and drizzle is set to continue, so what better for a dreary afternoon than a spicy winter soup courtesy of Mr P.
To make the soup I diced the flesh of the pumpkin into a pan together with a stick of celery, an inch of root ginger, one small onion and a single red chilli. I used a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and crumbled in a vegetable stock cube with a pinch of salt and few cracks of black pepper, frying the vegetables on a medium heat for several minutes until caramelised and glossy.
I then filled the pan to the top with cold tap water and turned it onto maximum heat, bringing it to the boil before lowering the temperature back down and allowing it to simmer and reduce for around twenty minutes until the desired consistency was reached. I wanted to make a light and refreshing soup today, as opposed to thick and heavy, so I didn’t allow the water to reduce too much, perhaps just a few centimetres from where I’d filled it to. However, should you wish to make the soup more gloopy and thick you can either use less water or try adding potatoes or cornflour.
I then used a hand blender to blend the soup, whizzing it a few clicks at a time across the bottom of the pan. I try not to blend the entire contents as it can make a soup quite watery if it has no texture at all, so this way you get juicy morsels and fibres of pumpkin and onion throughout, much like the fleshy pieces floating in fresh orange juice.
I them ladled a few scoops of spicy pumpkin soup into a bowl and topped it with a swirl of fresh cream, a pinch of toasted pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sprig of fresh basil. This goes beautifully with a chunk of crusty bread, wholemeal crackers or rye. And pumpkin has a deliciously smooth, sweet and light texture very similar to carrot, with an equally fluorescent orange colour, a kick of heat and a crunch of creamy pine nuts; the perfect winter warmer.