WOOD fires, cold crisp air and the crunch of auburn leaves, autumn is in full swing and what better way to embrace the pagan tradition of Hallows Eve than with a hearty bowl of pumpkin soup.
No stranger on the shelf, pumpkins, squash and all kinds of gourds are widely available in British supermarkets this time of year and, of course, your local green grocers. I bought a selection of colourful gourds from Lidl and couldn’t wait to turn them into this delicious soup!
I love making use of seasonal produce whenever I can. Seasonal vegetables are essential, not only for flavour and quality but also nutrition. Studies in Japan show that in-season food contains more vitamins and nutrients than cultivated crops.
Pumpkins are a staple for me at this time of year and roasting guarantees that comforting, autumnal flavour. For me, the sweetness and simplicity of roasted pumpkin is instant nostalgia conjuring images of a dark, frosty evening of trick or treating before returning home to a steaming bowl of soup.
With seasonal foods you are guaranteed high quality ingredients and a flavour much better than you can expect from a mass produced non-seasonal yield.
Everyone loves soup on a damp autumn evening; and I thought I would experiment with some roasted pumpkin and thyme.
Autumnal Pumpkin Soup
1 Pumpkin (not the massive carving pumpkins! The smaller, the sweeter) or a selection of gourds
700 ml vegetable stock (make 1 litre and you can use the rest to control the consistency)
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper (for seasoning)
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees
- Roast the pumpkin: Start by peeling, de-seeding and chopping the pumpkin into medium size chunks. If using a larger pumpkin, roast with the skin on and it will be easier to peel afterwards. Place the pumpkin in a roasting dish, scatter a few sprigs of thyme over, along with some salt and pepper and a generous drizzle of olive oil before placing in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes until cooked through and caramelised.
- Prepare soup base: Roughly chop the onion and gently fry in butter over a medium heat. When the onions are soft, add the garlic and fry until cooked. Set aside until the pumpkin is ready.
- When the pumpkin is cooked: Stir the pumpkin and onion together then add the vegetable stock, simmer for 5 minute and blend. Your soup is ready to serve!
Begin by adding half the stock and then add the rest bit by bit – you can always add but you can never take away!
Once blended, the soup has a naturally thick and creamy consistency, I don’t tend to use cream in this recipe but I do drizzle a little over when serving. If you like a really creamy flavour, by all means add a dash before blending!
You can play around with this recipe by adding different herbs, maybe using spices or if you can’t get hold of pumpkin, butternut squash is a good substitute.
Did you try this recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments!