Hello, yes, the pumpkin season is here! And I'm here with a warming pumpkin soup recipe!
Do you like their vibrant color, fruity smell and gentle flavour, like I do? They come in different shapes and sizes and autumn & winter is the best season to make the most of them!
Pumpkins are not just props for Halloween. They shouldn't be, as they're not only pretty and effective looking decorations, but can also be used in variety of meals and desserts - well, at least their edible types!
Before sharing my recipe for a delicious pumpkin soup, let me tell you a story.
My mum and great-grandma taught me about the use of pumpkins when I was a kid. Great-grandma would grow pumpkins in her garden and then store them in her basement for several months (they last very long in a dark, dry and cool place).
Her basement was magical and scary at the same time. It was dark and cold. There were rooms, which looked like from a horror movie. One of them was an old (no longer used) dirty bathroom with a big bathtub covered in dust. Another room was a storage of wood, which needed to dry properly before it could be used in a fireplace. The air there smelled of burnt wood and smoke. When you came closer to the fireplace, you could watch the flames and little orange and red sparks flying away from them.
We'd be running around playing hide and seek with my brother and cousins. Until this day, I also remember seeing a few big pumpkins sitting there somewhere on the floor in a room which served as a food storage (it was full of jars and tins).
Great-grandma usually gave us one of the pumpkins. Mum would then make an amazing compote and cake out of it. Mmm, yummy!
Later in my teenage years, I always had to persuade my parents to grow our own pumpkins in the garden (seeds go in the soil in April). What an 'awful' idea, they thought, as the plant was just going to grow big and will need too much space, meaning it'll block part of the garden from having other produce, before eventually growing into the vegetable as we know it (by the end of summer).
Now, you understand growing them is a long process, but the joy of having self-grown pumpkins is amazing and worth every argument!
Until these days, pumpkins have still been my favourite autumnal and winter ingredient.
And so here comes my pumpkin soup recipe, which is just ideal for this time of year!
As always, let's take a look at the ingredients first:
Pumpkin or squash?
In this recipe, I mention pumpkin and butternut squash. They are both from the same family of vegetables and can be easily substituted - use one you prefer or whichever is easier to get!
Their appearance differs a lot - both from the outside and inside. Butternut squash is pear-shaped and has got seeds only in the wider part, whereas cooking pumpkins have them all over on the inside. The difference also is in the taste, butternut squash offers slightly stronger flavour than a basic edible pumpkin.
There are many types of pumpkins/squash, ie. Hokkaido pumpkin can be cooked with skin on, as it dissolves during cooking. But the list could go on!
I also like to use some hearty vegetables such as carrots and potatoes to naturally thicken the soup.
Garlic, onion and chicken stock give the soup more flavour. Vegetarians, feel free to swap the chicken stock for vegetable stock!
Warming pumpkin soup recipe
- 1 butternut squash or 1 medium-sized edible pumpkin
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots peeled and diced
- 2 large potatoes peeled and diced
- 1,5 l chicken stock
- 8 tablespoon olive oil
- black pepper
- 200 ml low fat crème fraîche
- handful fresh parsley chopped
- rustic style or sourdough bread
- Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C.
- Start with the squash: Very carefully cut it in halves, peel it and remove all seeds. Then cut it in equally-sized dices (1,5-2cm).
- Place the diced squash on a baking tray with baking paper – make sure it’s in a single layer. Pour over 2tbsp olive oil and bake in the oven for 25-30 mins or until slightly brown on top.
- In the meantime, prepare the rest of the vegetables: Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Peel and wash the potatoes and carrots and cut them into same-sized dices.
- Add 2tsbp of olive oil to a large stock pot, set on high heat, add onion and garlic, lower to medium heat and let it soften.
- When the onion is soft and glossy, add the carrots, potatoes and stir the mixture thoroughly.
- Once ready, add the roasted butternut squash.
- Turn up the heat and add the chicken stock. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and leave to simmer for 20-30 mins or until the carrots and potatoes are soft.
- Whilst the soup is cooking, prepare the bread croutons: Cut the slices of bread into same-sized dices. Add the remaining 4tbsp of olive oil to a large frying pan, bring to high heat and add the diced bread. Fry the bread on high heat for 2-3 mins, turning occasionally, so that it’s browned from all sides. When browned and seemingly crunchy enough, take of the heat and set aside.
- Take the soup of the hob and blend it all with a stick blender, until you get a completely smooth texture. Taste and add salt and black pepper if needed.
- Serve in a bowl with a spoon of crème fraîche, handful of crispy croutons and chopped parsley on top. Enjoy!