Friday, May 28, 2010

Anytime is Souptime

As a wise man once said;

Life is a Minestrone, topped up with parmesan cheese. Death, is a cold Lasagne, suspended in deep freeze.

Amen brother! I could eat soup day in, day out. I don't but I would if I could. I have quite the soft spot for pumpkin soup. So much so, I think I have made it at least 30 times in my short life.

Pumpkin soup recipes vary - some are made French-ly decadent by adding cream, cinnamon and nutmeg, others are Thai-d up with coconut milk and chilli, while some contain curry powder and bay leaf resulting in an Indian-y style soup. Everyone has their preference and everyone has their own way of making it.
Me, I prefer the Eas-y way. That is, a few simple ingredients, made interesting with a hint of ginger and cumin, that let the pumpkin be the king of the show.
Perfect on a cold winter's day like the one's we are experiencing now...Or really any time of the year as I've come to enjoy. (Yes, I will battle the sweat and burning cheeks that come with eating a soup in sweltering summer heat).

Pumpkin Soup

Half a pumpkin (not butternut), roughly cut into chunks
1 litre chicken stock
2 carrots, roughly cut into chunks
Half a fennel bulb (if you've got it), roughly cut into chunks
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a knob of ginger, minced
3 cups water
2-3 teaspoons cumin powder (trust me...makes it deeeeeeeelicious)

Put pumpkin, carrots, fennel, onion and garlic in a heavy bottomed deep pan with olive oil. Turn on heat and fry gently until onions are translucent.

Add half a cup of stock and turn the heat up - leave to bubble/fry away with the lid on for 5 minutes. Keep checking though, you don't want the onions to burn.

Remove lid, add ginger and cumin + salt and pepper. Fry off the spice for a few more minutes, add the rest of the stock, turn down the heat and put the lid back on. Leave for 30 minutes.

After this, turn the heat off and wait 5 minutes. Use an electric hand whizz to break up all the soft pumpkin and carrots until it becomes thick. Be careful - hot pumpkin sauce sticks. Once the soup reaches a smooth consistency, add the three cups of water and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Season to taste (you may need to add more cumin or ginger if the flavour isn't strong enough).

Serve steaming hot, with a dollop of sour cream on top

how pretty are the mottled patterns on the skins of pumpkins? they remind me of turtles (and, really, who doesn't like turtles?)

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