Roast Pumpkin/Squash Soup

This recipe was made for the lovely people who work with my Dad when they came round for Christmas lunch. It was followed by pheasant breast with red cabbage, carrots and roast potatoes and then flourless chocolate hazelnut torte or apple crumble for pudding. No comment shall be made about the fact my brother accidentally put washing up liquid into a gravy that took me four hours to make, meaning I had to start from scratch again with not much time to go… Butternut squash is fine if pumpkin cannot be got hold of.

This will serve about six

Ingredients

1 medium pumpkin (12 inches across) or 2 small pumpkins or 2 butternut squash (seeds removed and cut into even-sized chunks of a few inches each way)

1 medium onion (finely chopped)

2 carrots (peeled and finely chopped)

1 celery stick (finely chopped)

spice mix to roast pumpkin (1tbsp coriander seeds, 2 tsp chilli flakes, 1tbsp cumin, 1tsp cinnamon) 

1.5 litres chicken or veg stock

olive oil

salt

5 tbsp crème fraiche or sour cream

Garnish

toasted pine nuts (enough to sprinkle on top of each bowl- toast by putting in a dry pan on a low heat, toss till they are lightly browned, not black – watch they don’t burn!)

2 limes

How I made it:

Preheat oven to 180 celsius. Prep all vegetables as indicated (finely chop carrots, celery and onion, cut pumpkin into chunks and remove seeds). Pound your spices together in a pestle and mortar, or if you don’t have one – it doesn’t matter. In a big bowl place your chunks of pumpkin and toss with spice mix, 2 table spoons of olive oil and a good pinch or two of salt until coated. Then put on a roasting tray and into your pre-heated oven for about 40-50 minutes – until really soft when you stick a knife in. 

About 10 mins before you take out the pumpkin, put your carrots, onion, and celery in a few tablespoons of olive oil into a big pan to soften on a low heat. Heat up your stock until steaming hot. When the pumpkin is ready, scoop the soft flesh out of the skin with a spoon or knife and add it to the softened onions etc. Pour in the hot stock. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Take off the heat.

Then with a hand blender, whizz up until smooth – this might take a few minutes. If your soup has lots of bitty spices in, pour the soup through a sieve to make it really smooth – I did this. (The French love sieving their soups to make them extra fine).

Stir in creme fraiche/sour cream. Check for seasoning – add more salt if necessary and a dash of black pepper.  Serve into warm bowls, sprinkle on a few pine nuts and a squeeze of lime juice in each bowl. For those who want more spice – they can add a few drops of tabasco. 

Serve with:

White wine and some crusty warm bread and butter.

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