The Pumpkin Legacy…

imageAfter the fun and frolics of Halloween, every house has a pumpkin or two hanging around that neither made it to the table nor went under the knife. So what do you do with them? Turn them into soup of course! Hardly imagining I hear you cry but when it’s been raining for two weeks and the wind is whistling around the garden, there’s nothing else I’d rather make!

So in my quest to raid the fridge and the pantry to make something tasty, I’ve created a roasted pumpkin and parmesan soup which hits the spot at this time of year. And let’s not forget that if your pumpkins have hit the compost heap, you can use any type of squash you can get your hands on.

This recipe is really easy and relatively good for you (depending on how much crème fraîche you add at the end!) and is perfect for a warming lunch with hot French bread and butter or as a starter. The rich texture of pumpkin coupled with the depth of flavour of the beef stock is really delicious at any time of the day.

imageIngredients:

Half a large pumpkin (and seeds)
5 cloves of garlic
1 litre of fresh beef stock
100g of parmesan
A bunch of fresh sage leaves
A generous clutch of fresh thyme sprigs
2 heaped teaspoons ground ginger
2 heaped teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon five spice
1 teaspoon fenugreek
Salt & white and black pepper.

To serve: crème fraîche and fresh parsley leaves

Pre heat an oven to 200 degrees. De-skin and dice the pumpkin into 2cm cubes and put on an oven proof tray along with the garlic cloves (in their skins), sage leaves and the thyme sprigs. Drizzle in rapeseed oil an season with salt and black pepper.

Cook for around 20-25minutes until the pumpkin is golden brown. Check and move it all around the tray after around 15 minutes. But as ovens vary, just use your eyes and nose to see if it’s cooked as you’d like it.

While the pumpkin and garlic are in the oven, on a separate tray, dry out the pumpkin seeds in the same oven for 5 minutes. Once dried, pan fry for a couple of minutes in a non stick pan with a little rape seed oil and sprinkle with a pinch of any dried spices you fancy.

Bring the beef stock to a simmer in a saucepan. and squeeze the garlic flesh out of the outer casing and into the stock. Add the pumpkin and transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth.

Return the soup to the saucepan and add the dried spices. To be honest, you can use whatever you fancy here – or use what you happen to have in! Add the grated parmesan and Season with white pepper and salt if necessary.

Simmer until the parmesan has melted into the soup then either let it cool (then it can be refrigerated or frozen) or serve it immediately.

My serving suggestion is to add a large dollop of crème fraîche to the centre of the soup so that it can be stirred in, this healthy soup into something a bit more luxurious and then scatter with the pumpkin seeds and a sprig of parsley.

This is just one of the many pumpkin / squash soups that I make. It’s always nice to try something different so give it a go and let me know what you think!

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