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Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup
(Image from here)

I think of New York as a purée and the rest of the United States as vegetable soup.(Spalding Gray)

Sorry about the silence at this end. It’s been a dreary old-time of getting over this nasty bug that I picked up in NZ. I’ve definitely been well off my game but hopefully that’s all changed as I move out of my cold-fueled funk and into a period of being more ‘windswept and interesting’… Fingers crossed, anyway!

The weather has turned here in Syders. It’s cold and wet. There’s a definite feeling that winter has now truly arrived. So, really it should come as no surprise – to me, anyway! – that yesterday, I woke up thinking about my favourite soup from when I was a child. This is a seriously good, old-fashioned soup that is hearty and thick and full of flavour and makes you feel all those warm things that good soup makes you feel…

This particular Graham Kerr version, from my childhood that I love so much, is a roasted vegetable soup and I don’t have the recipe. I had a wee look-see online on the off-chance that I’d get lucky. Nope. My Mum is travelling at the moment, so no joy to be had there either. Only one thing for it – shelve Graham’s recipe for another day (I promise to share it with you when I do get it!) and get creative.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.

At this point I should explain, for the uninitiated, LM refers to the two of us as ‘the modern day Jack Sprat and his wife’ because our diets have become a little more challenging in the past year or two. LM can’t eat shellfish or dairy. I have a gluten problem. Fortunately, I have become reasonably adept at managing this (we consume quite a bit of coconut milk!) but it does influence my ingredient choices when I’m getting creative in the kitchen. Just so you know…

So, back to getting creative. I’ve been getting into my bone broths lately, so good chicken stock was to hand. I also had a large butternut staring at me every time I opened the fridge. Someone was trying to tell me something…

Traditionally, I’m a bit of a recipe follower. While I don’t mind substituting the odd ingredient, I like to be reasonably assured my time in the kitchen will result in something tasty and appealing. But, this time, I decided to wing it. (See – getting ‘windswept and interesting’ already!) And, I gotta say’, the result was pretty damn good! So much so, I had to share it with you.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup – TSL Style

Olive oil
Salt (I use Himalayan pink rock salt)
1 x brown onion, chopped
1 x leek, white only, sliced finely
1 x garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp turmeric
Fresh ginger, about a thumb nail sized knob, grated
1 x butternut pumpkin, skin on, halved lengthways
1 x carrot, peeled (I would have thrown in more if I had them)
1 x kumara, peeled and roughly chopped (that’s sweet potato to you northern hemisphere lot!)
1 litre chicken stock (vegetable would work just as well, I suspect)
Coconut milk, about half a cup (cream would be yummy if you can eat dairy)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/350°F. Place halved butternut, kumara and carrot into a roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season – generously, in my case – with salt. Roast for approximately 50 – 60 minutes, or until cooked. When the butternut has cooled sufficiently, scoop out all the lovely flesh and discard the skin.

2. Heat a couple of decent glugs* of olive oil in a large pot over a low heat. Throw in onion and leek. Cook gently, stirring often, until the veggies soften. While the leeks and onions are working their magic, throw the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, nutmeg, and turmeric into a mortar and pestle for a good pound. Add the garlic and ginger. Pound into a paste.

3. Add the spice paste to the pot. Cook, stirring all the while, until the spices start to do their magic. This will take less than a minute.

4. Add the roasted butternut, kumara and carrot. Add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat back down to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

5. If you have one, get out your trusty stick blender and whizz until pureed. If you don’t have a stick blender, aside from seriously considering one for your next birthday present, allow the soup to cool slightly before blending it in batches.

4. Once the soup is blended, stir in the coconut milk and check for seasoning. Reheat and serve.

Voila!

…And, if you do try this soup, please let me know. It would make me feel good!

*technical term meaning ‘use your judgment’

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