It’s that time of year again when pumpkins are in season. We only get a short window in the UK to which to use the bright orange fruit from the squash family. However, unlike little brother, butternut squash, pumpkin is often seen as a gimmick for carving into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. When I lived in New Zealand, they were nuts about pumpkin soup and they even sell it by the tin like we do with tomato soup. With us Brits jumping on the bandwagon of picking our own pumpkin at pumpkin patches (check out Arnprior Farm, famous for being Scotland’s first premier pumpkin farm) like the Americans, there’s really every excuse to get cooking with our favourite October seasonal fruit. This autumn, I’m here to tell you how to turn your pumpkin purchase into a delicious pumpkin soup.
You can vary these quantities depending on how much soup you want to make, I was making mine for my workplace’s ‘soup club’ so I literally had my hands full with pumpkins! Below is an average recipe to serve approx 6 bowls of soup that you can use and tweak to your needs – remember soup is perfect for freezing, so depending on your freezer space, you might want to make a large quantity too, to stock up for the winter months and defrost and reheat as and when desired.
Approx 1kg pumpkin
2 medium sized white onions
20ml oil of your choice (i.e. rapeseed, olive, vegetable oil)
800ml Chicken or Vegetable Stock (you can get gluten/wheat free stock too to ensure the soup is suitable for coeliacs)
100ml double cream (try to get a light version if you can)
Handful of pumpkin seeds
1. Make sure you have a good non-blunt chef’s knife to cut the pumpkin in half.
2. Scoop out the stringy pumpkin flesh with a spoon and be sure to untangle, wash and reserve the seeds for later.
3. Cut the pumpkin into quarters and then even smaller, depending how big it is and wash and peel the outer layer of skin off the pumpkin – I’m not going to lie to you, this bit can be a bit tedious but it’s worth it!
4. Chop the pumpkin into rough, equal sized cubes.
5. Slice and dice your onions.
6. Heat and gently fry the onions, before adding the pumpkin, some salt and pepper to season and stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the pumpkin is soft (approx 15 mins).
7. Pour the cream into the soup pot and mix through. Allow the soup to cool slightly then I just used my hand blender to blend the soup to a silky consistency and you can add a touch more water if it’s too much like a purée, to thin it out. I also taste and season at this stage if required
8. I wash out and recycle butter boxes to store and freeze my soup so it’s the perfect one person portion, however any Tupperware will do. However if you want to serve the soup fresh, I normally keep the pot covered in the fridge and use within 2-3 days. Guaranteed it won’t hang around that long!
9. Finally you can toast the pumpkin seeds in a small amount of oil in a non-stick pan on a low-medium heat on the hob and sprinkle on top of the soup as a garnish.
You can tweak the recipe to your liking by experimenting with different spices – paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg for example. Packed full of Vitamin A, which promotes growth in children and really does help us see in the dark! As well as Vitamin C which helps ward off colds & flus and fights infection, I think you’ll agree this soup is the perfect winter warmer not to be missed.