Comfort eating: Pumpkin and squash soupPosted on: 03 November 2014 by Gareth Hargreaves
Halloween pumpkins - what a waste. This seasonal vegetable makes a deliciously hearty winter pumpkin and squash soup.
There are few better things to do when the nights start drawing in than to retire to the kitchen and cook up a delicious soup. This is a recipe that uses a couple of seasonal vegetables that we really don't eat enough of, pumpkins and butternut squash.
Halloween is gone and it really isn't that difficult to find squash or pumpkins; they are cheap and very versatile in terms of how you can use them and with their rich, sweet flavour and beautiful orange flesh they are quintessentially autumnal.
Pumpkin & butternut squash soup
Why make a soup from pumpkin and squash? They are the same type of vegetable, right? They are both members of the Cucurbitaceae family and the same genus, Cucurbita, apparently but that shouldn't be a reason not to combine them; they offer subtly different flavours and I think they complement each other very well. The truth, though, is in the tasting, so have a go at this recipe and let us know what you think.
Preparation 10mins. Cooking time 50 minutes.
1kg pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cubed
600g butternut squash, peeled,deseeded and cubed
1 clove of garlic
1 large onion, finely chopped
1.5 litres (2.6 pints) chicken or vegetable stock
150ml tub creme fraiche (optional)
100g Bacon lardons
Extra virgin olive oil
1 knob of butter
Parmesan or similar hard cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the cubed squash in an oven proof dish and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil and place in a pre-heated oven at 200c (gas mark 6) and leave for 40 minutes. The squash should be very tender and gooey when pressed with a slightly charred outer.
Heat the butter and some olive oil in a good sized heavy-based pan on a low heat. Add the onion and the garlic; cover and allow to sweat for a couple of minutes until the onion is soft and sweet. Add the pumpkin and replace the lid; leave for five minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.
Add your vegtable/chicken stock (your choice, they both work well) bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes. Once the pumpkin begins to lose its shape remove from the heat and add the two thirds of the squash (or all of it if you prefer a smooth soup).
While the soup is bubbling away grill or pan fry your lardons until crispy.
Squash and pumpkin are very fleshy vegetables so the consistency of the mixture is down to your own preference, you can go for chunky or velvety smooth. Leave the soup to cool slightly before pureeing with a potato masher or blender. If you held back any of the squash, add it now and stir through.
The creme fraiche is an indulgence and not essential to the success of the recipe, but it is a damn good addition if you are in a pampering mood. Give the creme fraiche a good stir through with a fork before pouring into the soup and stirring thoroughly until completely blended.
Serve immedaitely into bowls and sprinkle a handful of the lardons and a couple of parmesan ribbons on top with sea salt and pepper (if you like). There should be more than enough for five, plus a good remainder for seconds or freezing. Enjoy!
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