With a chill in the air, fog in the trees and rain on the grass that takes all day to dry, winter must be nearly here. What better to eat in winter than a nice bowl of soup! I have some pumpkins growing in the garden that I think are nearly ready to pick. The frost has started to kill of the plant and they are begging to be made into something yummy.

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I love pumpkin, its flavour is so versatile and lends itself to being sweet or savoury. I don’t tend to cook to specific recipes, rather I adapt them to the flavours that I’m feeling in the need for at the time. I tend to change the ingredients added in depending on who I’m feeding and what else I’m serving with the meal.

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This is my basic recipe:

1 whole pumpkin chopped into 2cm chunks

1 brown onion

3-4 cloves purple garlic

1 potato, peeled and diced

1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped

approx 2L of chicken or vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion and garlic in a large stockpot until soft, add pumpkin and stir for a few minutes to soften then add the apple, potato and enough stock to just cover the pumpkin. Its good to make sure the chopped ingredients are fairly packed down before you add the stock so that you don’t end up with too much water content. I like this soup reasonably thick.

Bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium and cook for approx 20-30 mins. It is ready when you can squash the pumpkin easily with a spoon against the side of the pot. Use a stick blender and whiz up until smooth. Serve with a dollop of greek yoghurt or sour cream and some fresh chopped chives. Great with a nice crusty piece of toasted sourdough bread if bread is your thing.

This basic recipe can be adapted to your taste. Other ways I’ve changed the flavour are to add a small can of coconut milk or cream at the end and stir through. A teaspoon of chilli powder and a teaspoon of honey goes well with this to have a thai flavoured soup. You could add a sweet potato to make it a little thicker, this can also be used instead of white potato to thicken. I’ve added a can of french lentils after I’ve blended it up before which is lovely, gives a nice texture and a good dose of protein. Some finely shredded kale or spinach is also a good edition after blending, this also gives a different texture and added vitamins and minerals. Another great way is to roast all the vegetables first, then add to a pot with the boiling stock and blend. You don’t tend to need as much stock doing it this way.

The possibilities are endless really when you start with a good, basic, fool proof recipe. Experiment today and see what you come up with and share it with me below.