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Sunday 29 October 2006

Recipe: Pumpkin Peon Soup [Lurks]

What with it being Halloween there must be a good few leftover pumpkins when the kids have finished with them and what with people starving/murdering eachother with machettes in Africa, it would seem wasteful to toss them away. Well stuff that, pumpkin soup is bloody delicious and that is reason enough. This here is a recipe that I came up with last year and we thought so much of it we wrote it down. As I write, I'm waiting for stuff to fry up for this year's batch. So henceforth, I shall unveil the secret of Lurk's Pumpkin Peon Soup.
Now since you're basically going to use a whole pumpkin, this is going to make a lot of soup so you should plan the ingredient quantities accordingly and make plans to get containers for it to freeze up portions or give it away. Unless you want to be eating pumpkin soup for a couple of weeks that is. Also you're going to need a pretty sizable soup terrine type thing. If you aint got one, I'd go out and buy one to frank.
As usual I wont be terribly specific about the quantity of ingredients because that's not how I cook anyway and if you can't work out an appropriate quantity, you probably shouldn't be in the kitchen anyway. Best reach for the pizza menu.
  • Bunch of Red Onions - chopped
  • Bunch of Leeks - chopped
  • Bushel of Celery - chopped
  • Large bulb of Garlick - chopped (coursely)
  • Big splash of oregano
  • Several teaspoons of coriander powder
  • Olive oil and butter

The above makes up your standard aromatic bulb mash that I use for pretty much all soups. This wants to be chopped up into a big ass fry pan and fried up with olive oil and butter until it's all soft and mashy. Don't skimp on the coriander and oregano. If you had access to some fresh that would be nice too but in the case of coriander, you want some dried powdered in there anyway.
  • Pumpkin - 1 whole, peeled, de-seeded and in big chunks
  • Tomatoes - several cans of chopped or entire 700gr jar of 'passata'
  • Potatoes - several large peeled chopped potatoes
  • Carrots - half a dozen chopped
  • Chicken stock - half a dozen cubes at least
  • Creamed coconut - entire block
  • Swiss Marigold Veggie Stock (rules for all soup) - a couple of good tablespoons
  • Chili powder - Easiest to get is Schwartz 'Hot Chili powder' - a tablespoon or more if you like a bit of bite like we do
  • Salt natch
  • Pepper - quite a bit, fresh ground. Same approach as the chili.

Slow cook the pumpkin, tomatoes, potatoes and carrots in the chicken & veggie stock (add plenty of water obviously) and bunk in the salt, pepper, chili powder and creamed coconut. This should simmer until the pumpkin is proper soft which will take a couple of hours most likely. Stir every now and again.
Then bang in the aromatic bulb mash from earlier and bang up the heat so it boils up for a minute or so, then set back down and simmer for a little while longer. This point you can get out your electric blender. The tip here is not to use too much water and blend while it's all still pretty thick which needs much less blending than if you simmered the pumpkin and goodies in too much water. As with all soup, if you can see that some bits of pumpkin are not blending in particularly well it's probably because they're not cooked through properly. Not a disaster, just stop blending, simmer for a bit longer, then blend up until it's smooth.
Then you'll basically be wanting to add water to the desired consistency. I think pumpkin soup should be pretty thick really. Tempted as you might be to bang in cream at the end, I'd resist that. If you like a cream soup like that, add a dash into bowls at serving time and let people blend it up themselves. Another quick grate of fresh pepper on top is just the ticket.
Accompaniment wise, I'd recommend a wholegrain seedy type bread torn in ragged chunks. Mmm mmm!


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