Talk about chilly, winter has arrived in Melbourne and sunk its teeth into the very bones of the city that I call home. Even the more hardcore members of Melbourne’s Miniskirt Mafia (the slightly insane girls who prance about in miniskirts regardless of the weather) appear to have conceded defeat to the numbing winds and close to freezing point morning temperatures.
Looking at the lunches that my colleagues bring to work on a daily basis, it appears that the arrival of nipple-freezing weather launches the start of instant soup season – packets and tins of pre-made /powdered soups do roaring trade, and the slurps are aplenty come mealtime.
Whilst packet cake mixes (f*ck you, white wings and greens instant cake and pancake mixes) are what most drive me to fits of irrational rage, pre-made soup follows a close second. The main reason for this is that soup is possibly one of the easiest things in the world to make, so the idea that people are purchasing something as basic as pumpkin soup instead of spending a little time and love in their kitchens gives me a bit of a crazy-person eye-twitch.
As far as pumpkin soup recipes go, at last count I had accumulated over twenty different recipes through my food magazines and cookbooks, and the range of flavours goes from a basic roasted vegetable to mixtures of different spices and flavours aiming to complicate what really should be a dish that celebrates and revolves around the buttery, sweet flavour that cooked pumpkin provides.
This recipe, as far as soup recipes go, really could not get any easier. Sure, it takes a little time and a little elbow grease and grunt work, but the payoff is a deliciously smooth and sweet soup that you’ve made yourself from scratch, instead of purchasing a powdered/tinned/vacuum-sealed baggie full of soup manufactured in a factory somewhere with claims of being ‘just like homemade’.
Because (and let’s be frank) there ain’t anything ‘homemade’ about a hermetically sealed doggy bag of soup, no matter how the manufacturers wish it to be so!
800g pumpkin, peeled and cubed (my preference is actually for half butternut and half Kent)
1 large brown onion, roughly diced
2-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 knob unsalted butter
1L stock (chicken or vegetable)
Salt & pepper to taste
Cream & fresh chives, to serve
1. Put a large pot onto a medium heat, then add the butter and allow it to brown. Add the onion and garlic and cook till the onion is translucent, then add the pumpkin and stir to combine.
2. Saute till the pumpkin begins to soften, then add the cumin and paprika and continue to cook for another minute or two. Pour in the stock, bring the pot to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook till the pumpkin is completely soft and begins to disintegrate.
3. Allow the soup to cool, then blitz with a blender/immersion blender till completely smooth. Bring the mixture back to a simmer and cook till the mixture thickens up slightly.
4. Plate up while hot, and serve with a dollop of cream and some freshly snipped chives, and with a nice crusty roll on the side.
[tags]winter, recipe, savoury, vegetarian, pumpkin soup, soup[/tags]