On the eve of Halloween, I bought a pumpkin.
A hefty one, too – stolen, no doubt, by transient fit of artistic fervour. I was to be to large autumn vegetables what Rodin was to raw and unwieldy chunks of marble. A week later, and the pumpkin remained untouched. The hewn orange visage I had envisioned so clearly failed to manifest itself, the flesh that would have been disposed of unceremoniously in the event of my having got round to carving it the only thing now capable of recouping some value from it. Obviously, then, a pumpkin soup had to be made. Here’s what I did:
- 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
- 50g of butter
- Half a large pumpkin, diced
- Half a pumpkin’s-worth of seeds
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 leek, sliced
- 2 medium potatoes, diced into 2cm cubes
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock
- handful of sage, coarsely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 200ml single cream
Having melted the butter into the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic, leek, potato and sage, sweating over a medium heat until the onion and leek are stringy and sweet smelling. Then add the pumpkin. If you resist the temptation to add the stock straight away, you’ll be rewarded in the final outcome as moisture evaporates from the pumpkin and the contents of the pan recede dramatically. Once you have added the stock, bring the pan to the boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Add the cream, and cook out a little. Season to taste and serve.
Whilst the soup is simmering, for a tasty and resourceful garnish, you could, as I did, roast the pumpkin seeds in olive oil, salt and pepper at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes. They’re deliciously nutty and also possess an oddly meaty quality.