We had family come to visit last Sunday week, and were just planning to duck out to Woollies to pick up something for lunch. Then I realised that was a bit stupid – we have lots of nice butternut pumpkins (butternut squash to the North Americans) in the garden, it was a rainy day, and pumpkin soup would go down a treat!
Pumpkin soup is great for impressing visitors. It’s so easy to make, it’s easy to grow all the ingredients you need, and it tastes amazing compared to the bought stuff.
A quick scoot around the garden yielded this elongated butternut pumpkin, an onion, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Most of our butternuts are the usual short fat variety, but we get a few long ones like this each year. I had garlic hanging in the garage from our last harvest. I also later went back for some sage. In the freezer I had some chicken stock from when we killed Roger the rooster.
The recipe is very laid-back:
I like to oven-roast the pumpkin before adding it to the soup – it gives a richer, more interesting flavour. Just peel and dice the pumpkin, and roast it on a tray in a moderate oven until it browns a little.
While the pumpkin is roasting, dice one or two onions. Gently heat some olive oil and butter in a big saucepan, and add the onions to soften.
Add the chopped garlic to the onions, then tip in the roasted pumpkin pieces and give it all a quick stir.
Add enough chicken or vegetable stock to completely cover the pumpkin – you can add more to stretch the soup further if more guests turn up unexpectedly! If you don’t have stock on hand, you can use salted water.
Add the bay leaves whole, and chop the rest of the herbs finely before adding them. Simmer for a while to let the herb flavours develop.
Just before you’re ready to serve, remove the bay leaves and use a stick blender to puree the soup. Keep going until there are no pumpkin lumps left.
As a last touch, season to taste with salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
Serve into soup bowls and dress with a dollop of sour cream or natural yoghurt and a garnish of parsley. Sorry, but I forgot to take a photo of the finished product!
If you have the time, some fresh-baked bread rolls go really well with a soup like this. A nice sourdough from your local bakery is lovely too.