On a recent trip to our local green grocer, I discovered a crate of beautiful Kent Pumpkins on sale. The days have been cooling considerably in the late afternoons as we transition from Summer to Autumn and so I decided on the spot that I would prepare a quick pumpkin soup for dinner. I squeezed a whole pumpkin into my red shopping basket and proceeded to the checkout, feeling the pleasing warmth that comes from the early whispers of a new season.
500g kent pumpkin (peeled, deseeded and chopped roughly)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups (approx 500ml) vegetable or chicken stock
nutmeg seed (1/8 to 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg)
sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
parsley to garnish
Place the chopped pumpkin, garlic, finely grated nutmeg and stock into a large saucepan and boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Once pumpkin is soft (test with a fork), blend the soup until thick and smooth, season to taste. Serve immediately with a dollop of cream or natural yoghurt and a sprig of fresh parsley, sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper.
I've previously added a small brown onion to this recipe and it tasted warm, savoury and delicious, however it is not necessary and cuts down on preparation time. I also used a ThermoChef, instead of a saucepan. All I did was place the pumpkin, garlic and enough stock to cover the pumpkin (approximately 3 cups) into the ThermoChef, set the temperature to 100 degrees Celsius (210 degrees Fahrenheit) and set the timer to 20 minutes. I then went for a jog on the beach with the puppy in the late afternoon.
When I returned, the soup was cooked so I showered, then poured off some of the excess stock into a bowl and blended the soup in the ThermoChef (less washing up equals more time to relax). You can always add more of the hot liquid stock to the soup later to make it less viscous, this is how I achieve the consistency that I want. I add the excess stock sparingly as I love my soup thick!
I poured the soup directly into a large soup mug and in my pictures I have dolloped natural yoghurt on the top and garnished the soup with Italian parsley from my herb garden. I then toasted two slices of gluten free bread and slathered a tiny amount of unsalted butter onto each hot, crunchy piece to plunge into my soup.
The soup was warm and inviting, the perfect pick-me-up after a gentle run across the wet sand. As the sun dipped low in the sky, I slowly savoured each spoonful whilst the puppy lay at my feet, sleeping soundly.
I would have to say that kent pumpkins are my favourite to use in pumpkin soup, unless I'm roasting the pumpkin beforehand, in which case I sometimes like to use the sweet, nutty flesh of butternut squash. If you choose to roast your vegetables beforehand, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and on a baking tray, coat the chopped pumpkin, crushed whole garlic cloves and roughly chopped brown onion in one tablespoon of olive oil. Roast the vegetables until golden, approximately 15 minutes, then combine in a heavy based pot with enough vegetable stock to cover the pumpkin. Finely grate 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of fresh nutmeg into the pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer until the vegetables are tender, then blend the vegetables and half of the stock until smooth. Pour in the remaining stock sparingly to achieve the consistency you desire. I prefer a thick soup, as pictured. Season with sea salt and cracked pepper to serve.
No matter what kind of pumpkin you decide to use, the end result will be healthy and filling and if you're lucky, you'll have enough pumpkin infused stock left over to flavour a lovely pumpkin risotto. The options are only as limited as your imagination.
Sitting in an old favourite chair on a broad verandah opposite the sea, my pumpkin soup in a large mug warming my fingers. Simplicity in all it's beauty.
You may have noticed that the soup mug I used is the same as the one featured in our giveaway. When I stood in a brightly lit store all those weeks ago searching for the ideal gifts to include in my giveaway, it was pumpkin soup that I imagined ladling into the teal coloured mug. I purchased an extra one for myself because I love the deep blue-green colour, especially when partnered with the glossy orange of this soup.
A gentle reminder that the giveaway will finish at the end of February. To enter, visit here and follow the instructions. Entry is free and you can enter up to seven times. Good luck dear fiends!
In other giveaway news, the lovely Jodi over at Che and Fidel is sharing details for yet another giveaway on her blog. The handmade items for the home and nursery have been generously donated by Melbourne based artist Madeleine Sargent of Made by Mosey and the link for that giveaway can be found by visiting here.
Let the sharing continue in our wonderful online community!
Thanks for popping in for dinner, as always I love to share it with you.