Seasonal recipe is a real taste of autumn
NOW we are firmly into autumn, I thought I would share with you a delicious, seasonal recipe for Pumpkin Soup. This would be ideal for any Halloween or Bonfire Party entertaining that you may have planned, as it is easy to make a big vat of it and it also freezes well.
Halloween seems to be a much bigger event these days with Pumpkin carving being a bit of a tradition in the Hirst household. If you do buy some pumpkins in for carving this is a great way of using the flesh up rather than clogging up the green wheelie bin.
Although all things" pumpkiny" are generally associated with America this is actually an old Australian recipe. Many years ago I was fortunate enough to stay with a wonderful family in Melbourne and this soup recipe had been in my host's family for several generations. They were keen to educate a "Pom" on the way of the pumpkin! I was surprised how many different dishes it is used in. Pumpkin soup is regarded as very traditional with most families having their own special version.
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Serves four to six
One large Pumpkin. – see method for preparation.
Approx. 4 tbsp. Rapeseed Oil (I used Ownsworth which is local and gives a lovely flavour)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 potatoes cubed up
1 leek sliced up
1 chicken stock cube dissolved in a pint of boiling water
Cumin - a pinch
Splash of milk or cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 170c
1. If you are using pumpkin flesh after carving, after you have scraped it out, get rid of the stringy bits, it's up to you if you want to save the seeds for something else. If you are making the soup with whole pumpkin and not carving then cut it into wedges, don't bother to peel at this stage. Scrape out the stringy bits and seeds.
2. Put the chopped up or wedges of pumpkin in a roasting tin, mix up well with half of the oil and season well. Roast at 170c for about 45min. You want the pumpkin to be nice and soft and starting to colour slightly. This helps the pumpkin to release its sugars which gives a better depth of flavour to the finished soup. If you have used pumpkin wedges, just scoop the cooked flesh out of the skin. Much easier to do this after cooking than trying to peel a raw pumpkin!
3. Whilst the pumpkin is roasting get a large saucepan and using your remaining 2 tbsp. of rapeseed oil and butter fry the leeks and potato on a low to medium heat. Add in the pinch of cumin and stir it in to coat everything. Put the lid on the pan so you are sweating them down rather than colouring them.
4. After about ten minutes when they are starting to soften a bit add in the pumpkin and all the other ingredients except the milk or cream and seasoning.
5. Stir up well and then simmer for about 30 minutes until everything is tender.
6. Blitz up with a stick blender to a puree or use a liquidiser then add a splash of milk or cream and stir in to get it to the consistency that you like, check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Be careful on the salt as sometimes the stock cubes can be very salty.
7. Make sure it's nice and hot after blitzing, you may need to put it on the heat again, but be careful not to boil it or you will spoil the texture. If you are not using it immediately, let it cool and then put it in a plastic container and chill in the fridge or put in the freezer. It will be fine to freeze for up to a month
8. Reheat from chilled to be piping hot and if you have frozen it, defrost completely and then reheat.
For more recipes and ideas on how to use your pumpkins and my previous Target recipes they can be found at www.rjhirstfamilybutchers.co.uk or www.hirstsheritagefoods.co.uk