Come autumn and the nip in the air makes me crave for comfort food. And for me one of my favourites is a bowl of thick , and silky smooth pumpkin soup with its slightly sweet and nutty tones. I discovered pumpkin soup really late in life and when I did there was no stopping me. I mean I make this soup at least once every week during winters. The aromas of roasting pumpkin in the oven fill the house with an incredible smell.
I adapted this recipe from Matt Preston’s (Masterchef Australia fame) Winter Warmer Soup, and it’s super easy and super delicious. Its perfect for a weeknight meal. If you are time pressed you can even roast the veggies a couple of days in advance and refrigerate them and use them for later. However, the fresher you make this soup the better it tastes. I serve it with a side of greens and crusty bread. Simple and hearty meal.
You have to roast all your vegetables and a secret ingredient (yes there is one !) first until they are tender and then boil them in chicken/vegetable stock. Once it cools down blend it using a hand blender to get a smooth consistency and top it with some sage, bacon, and pepitas crisped with brown sugar. The sweet and saltiness of the ingredients make it a delicious treat.
I usually use a butternut pumpkin, but you can use any variety that you like, and with that a carrot, brown onion, unpeeled garlic, and a granny smith apple (the secret ingredient!). Roast these ingredients for 30minutes so that the pumpkin is roasted and soft and can be scooped up easily. Don’t bother cutting or peeling the pumpkin before roasting, just scoop out the seeds and put it on the tray. Sprinkle some cinnamon, all spice , a fresh herb like rosemary or thyme, and salt and pepper. Add a splash of olive oil and give it a good shake and its ready to go in.
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a roasting pan add the pumpkin, onion, carrot, apple, garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs and dust with cinnamon, allspice powder, and salt and pepper. Add olive oil to the tray and give all the ingredients a good shake so that they are well coated. Pop them into the oven for 30 mins or until the pumpkin is soft and done.
Once roasted take the vegetables out and let it cool enough to handle. Discard the rosemary sprigs.
Scoop out the pumpkin using a spoon into a soup pot. Press gently to get the garlics out of their skins and add all the other roasted vegetables to the pot as well. Add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil stirring in between to ensure it doesn’t stick. Cover and let it simmer away for 15-20mins until all the vegetables are soft and mushy.
Take it off the heat and let it cool before blending it in batches in your blender. Once blended put it back on the heat and add paprika to it and adjust seasonings according to taste. Let it simmer for another 5-10 mins on medium high heat and then turn it off.
This recipe will give you a thick soup which is the kinds me and hubby dear like as we like to eat our soup cause it gives a more full feeling (mind tricks I know). You can however add more water or skim milk to get the consistency you like. If you like it thinner add another cup of water or skim milk to the blended soup and bring it to a boil.
Garnish it with some pepitas, sage leaves, and bacon if you like caramelised with some brown sugar . Or just swirl some greek yogurt with chives and toasted pepitas and enjoy!