|roasted pumpkin soup with chilli and ginger|
Now this gloriously rich soup is lightly spiced with Eastern treasures and full of warming flavours, perfect for a dull Autumn day; it is a very nice soup to come home to.
Someone once told me that adding carrots to squash soups not only added to the flavour and colour, but also enhanced the ultimate silky texture of the soup. I have no reason to disbelieve this and have been adding carrots ever since.
Skill level: Easy
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 kg pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 x onions, roughly chopped
2 x carrots, roughly chopped
4 x garlic cloves, smashed
a knob of root ginger (about 2 cm long), sliced
1-2 x red chillies, roughly chopped (de-seeded if you like them less spicy)
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp grated or ground nutmeg
½ tsp smoked paprika (optional)
1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
juice of 1 fresh lemon
150ml milk (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
grated nutmeg (to serve)
- Pre-heat the oven to Gas mark 6 / 200 C.
- Chop the pumpkin into evenly-sized pieces. (Don't chop them too large as they will take much longer to cook - about 2.5 cm long is probably about right).
- Put the chopped vegetables and spices (including the cumin and paprika if using) in a large mixing bowl and spoon over the olive oil. Mix to ensure that everything has a fine coating of oil. (Use more if necessary).
- Tip the vegetables into a large roasting dish and bake for 20 minutes (about 35 minutes in total). Turn the vegetables at least once to ensure that they are evenly roasted and don't burn. (Turn the heat down or cover if the vegetables look as if they are incinerating!)
- At this point you may need to fish out the more delicate pieces such as the garlic, chilli and onion to prevent them becoming too overcooked or even blackened.
- Continue roasting the pumpkin for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the pieces are brown and soft. Do keep an eye on it to ensure the pumpkin doesn't burn.
- When ready, remove from the oven and carefully tip into a large saucepan.
- Add about 1 litre of stock (vegetable or chicken) to the saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the pumpkin and spice flavours to infiltrate the stock.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before liquidising. (If you are pureeing the soup while it is still hot, there is a danger of it injury!)
- After blending, whether using a hand-held blender or an upright one, I usually also put the soup through a fine sieve, for extra silkiness.
- Return the blended soup to a clean pan and warm slowly. You many want to add a little extra stock if you want a thinner soup.
- Season to taste. Add the lemon juice (and milk if using) and check seasoning again.
- Grate over a little nutmeg and serve with loads of crusty bread.
- Freezes very well. A very nice soup to come home to!