So this weekend I went totally pumpkin crazy! I made Hemsley + Hemsley pumpkin pies for a dessert, roasted some paprika pumpkin seeds for snacks, made a pumpkin smoothie (recipe coming soon) and also made this wickedly spicy pumpkin soup.
The boyfriend even had a go at carving a jack-o'-lantern - featured in my picture! - which proudly adorned the front of the house, along with several of our neighbours. It actually looked great as the street got dark to see them all lit up; I never realised how into Halloween everyone was getting here in London.
I'm going to say something that I haven't seen anyone else say about pumpkin this season despite all the recipes. I hadn't tried it before and... it really doesn't taste of very much at all does it?! I suppose that's the beauty of it and why it can be used in sweet and savoury dishes so well, taking on lots of spices and other flavours. But the puree itself? Pretty bland.
So with that in mind this soup has got a lot of great flavours thrown in. My favourite addition is definitely fresh ginger. I found this in a recipe when doing some research and it really works, bringing a great zing to the soup.
The other tip I have is watch how many chilli flakes you throw in. I know how strong the dried ones are after years of using them and yet I just can't help myself, and always end up making a soup or chilli that blows your head off! You can add more later on, but you can't take them out, so add them gradually.
Let me know what you think about the recipe, and honest feedback on the fresh ginger. I love it!
SERVES: 2 generous portions or 4 smaller starters
PREP TIME: 10 minutes if not making your own pumpkin purée, 1 hour if you need this too
COOK TIME: 20 minutes
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 500g (2 cups) pumpkin purée (if you don't have it prepared then buy a whole pumpkin and follow step 1 below)
- 350ml vegetable stock (I used one kallo yeast-free vegetable stock cube)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (or more to taste, save a few for topping too!)
- 4cm fresh ginger root, skin removed and sliced thinly
- good grind of pepper
- splash of olive or coconut oil
1. If you haven't got pumpkin purée already (so many recipes assume you have it, presumably in a can like the Americans?) then pre-heat the oven to 200°C / Gas Mark 6. If you have the purée already then skip to step 2!
Take a whole pumpkin and stab it a few times to allow steam to escape. Put the whole thing in the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove and cut in half. Place the two halves flesh side up in the oven and roast for another 30-40 minutes until soft.
Take out of the oven and allow to cool, then scoop the flesh out, or as I did, use a sharp knife to take off the skin rather than using a spoon to scoop!
Using a hand blender or food processor blitz the flesh until you get a smooth purée.
2. In a deep saucepan fry the onions, garlic, cumin, chilli flakes and ginger over a medium heat until the onions have softened.
3. Add the pumpkin purée and stock and stir well until combined. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.
4. Add the salt and pepper and more chilli flakes, tasting as you go.
5. When you're happy with the flavour, remove from the heat and blitz with a hand blender or put in a food processor and blend until smooth and completely combined.
6. Serve up! I topped mine with pumpkin seeds, chilli flakes and pepper and some pumpkin skin which I'd cut into smaller pieces and roasted in the oven - if you've made the purée yourself you should have plenty of these little shreds and they make a great caramelised topper.