I don’t really like winter. I hate when I feel cold, and no matter how many layers I have on, I can’t seem to warm up. One thing I do like about winter, though, is that I get to make soup. There is something about having a nice warm bowl of soup with bread that just warms you through.
Because it’s been so cold the last week or so, I’ve been craving pumpkin soup. I never used to like pumpkin soup, but that was back when I’d only tried it from a can. In year 9 or 10, we actually made real pumpkin soup in food technology, and I realised I actually love it!
I don’t have a set recipe I use. When I decided to start making soups last year, this was the one I made the most and have gotten just right! I always did it from memory with no set amounts for the ingredients. I’ll give my instructions for what I do though, and hopefully they’ll be good enough for someone else to make it!
Firstly, I tend to use a whole pumpkin. I’m not fussed what type of pumpkin, just whatever looks good at the supermarket when I’m there. I’ll usually put one or 2 onions in, but since cutting onions makes me cry like crazy, I don’t use more than that. Tonight it was a red onion since it was all I had, although usually its brown onions. I also use some potatoes. It varies as to how many I need, but I usually use 3-4 depending on the size. I try to use about a 1/3 of the quantity of the pumpkin, but again, this is just an estimate. I tend to use chicken stock to cook it, as the vegetable stocks here all seem to be loaded with MSG, but you certainly can use vegetable stock instead.
To start with, I peel the onions, potato and pumpkin, and take the seeds out of the pumpkin and then roughly chop everything into smaller pieces. I’m not super fussy with this, since you blend it all anyway, but I try not to make them too big so they cook quicker.
I toss everything in a big soup pot, and then add enough stock so that it’s almost up to the top of the veggies. I like my soup a little thicker, so I don’t completely cover them, but if you like it runnier, you could certainly add more water. The picture below shows about how much stock I used. Since I was using powdered stock, I was mixing it in the jug as I went, and it ended up being about 10 cups.
I bring everything to the boil, and then simmer it all for an hour or 2, until the potato and pumpkin start to mush up. Once it’s at this stage, I leave it to cool a little, so I’m less likely to burn myself on the next step. When it’s cool enough, I blend the soup. I don’t have a stick blender, and I make too much soup to fit in my normal blender, so to do it, I actually use an electric mixer. This works well enough, but it can splash a little if you lift the beaters too high, so I try to keep them under the surface. Since it makes such a mess of the mixer, I actually covered it in cling wrap tonight, so it would be much easier to clean! Blend the soup until it’s at a consistency you like, and it’s ready!
To serve, I usually put a dollop of sour cream in there, and then grind some peppercorns over it, and have it with slices of thick crusted bread. I’ve used normal thickened cream with it as well, which also works. Sometimes I’ll add a touch of salt, but it’s pretty unusual for me. Some people like it with chives or nutmeg, but I’m not the hugest fan of either, so pepper works well for me!
And yes, this is the soup I made tonight. And yes, I make that much each time I make it, even with only 2 of us here (although at the moment, Michael is away so it’s just me). It freezes and reheats well, so I freeze leftovers in individual or double servings, since I love it as an extra meal a week or 2 later, or work lunches.
Excuse the terrible lighting though. It’s winter here, and is getting dark super early, plus we don’t have a very good kitchen light. The soup isn’t quite as orange as it looks with the flash either.
Soup really is the best winter food!! Other favourites include pea and ham soup, and chicken noodle soup, both of which I’m getting to be ok at. This winter, I’ll be figuring out how to make a smoked leg of lamb soup. If anyone has any other good soup recipes, feel free to let me know!