I had neglected making pumpkin soup for quite some time. Pretty much everyone likes pumpkin soup but I get the feeling that many people, like me, are constantly on the search for a better recipe – the perfect one. The classic pumpkin soup doesn’t do all that much for me and while I really like Thai influenced versions with curry paste and coconut milk they can be high in fat. Soup for lunch in winter is just about the perfect meal in my book and I’m always keen to have a wide variety. So I decided after recently making quite a range of soups, including creamy broccoli and pear & beetroot this week, it was time to revisit pumpkin.
Roasting pumpkin always enhances its flavour and I tend to do this before using it for any recipe. I found a few roasted pumpkin soup recipes in my cook books that were pretty much the standard recipe with the additional step of roasting the pumpkin (and sometimes the garlic) first. I think that pumpkin, while sweet and nutty, is not that great on its own in a soup. It needs something more. So I figured if I’m going to heat up the oven to roast the pumpkin, why not roast all the ingredients (instead of frying onion and garlic etc) and chuck in a few complimentary veggies. I figured I wasn’t the first to think of this and sure enough there are versions of this out there on the net. However this is my version, made without influence.
I cut up some pumpkin, a red onion, a red capsicum and a couple of carrots and chucked it all in a roasting pan. I added some whole peeled fat cloves of garlic and drizzled it all with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Just before I put the pan in the oven I picked a few sprigs of rosemary (great for anything roasted) and thyme (because I had a delicious pumpkin soup recently at The Big Table in the Central Market that featured thyme) and added those too. Once it was nicely roasted I tipped it all into a saucepan and added about a litre of chicken stock and whizzed it all up with my stab blender.
Fabulous depth of flavour, with garlicky caramelised notes. It was the easiest soup I’ve ever made. No chopping, no frying, very few steps. Paraphrasing Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons “Best pumpkin soup everrr”. I think you could add a range of vegetables and vary the herbs. I’ve already made this twice and this time I added four quartered tomatoes instead of capsicum (this was a tip I found on the net) and they added their own sweet flavour as they dehydrated and roasted in the oven. I also found a pumpkin soup recipe that includes a swirl of pumpkin seed pesto on serving, which sounds like a great addition.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
1.5kg butternut pumpkin (or more depending on how thick you like your soup), peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into eighths
2 huge or 4 standard cloves of garlic, peeled
1 large red capsicum, cut into large chunks
2 large ripe tomatoes quartered
3 large carrots peeled and chopped into large chunks
a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme
olive oil for drizzling
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 220C (fan forced)
Throw all veggies into a baking paper lined roasting tray, scatter with herbs, salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Use your hands to turn veggies in the oil to make sure they are well coated.
Roast veggies in oven for about 15 mins then turn down to 200C and roast for a further 20 -30 mins or until soft and starting to caramelise on the edges.
Remove pan from oven and tip contents into a saucepan (discarding woody stems of herbs) large enough to comfortably hold a litre of stock in addition to the veggies. Add about a cup of stock and, using a stab blender, whizz all ingredients into a puree. Add more stock in 1/2 – 1 cupfuls until you have the desired consistency (this is a personal thing). You could also do this step in a blender.
Heat soup in saucepan, then serve with a few thyme leaves scattered over and crusty bread on the side.