But it’s pumpkin soup that Aussies can’t go past They can be roasted, mashed or made into a pie.
An easy pumpkin soup recipe.
AS A nation we are rather unique in our love of pumpkin soup. The French cook it but it doesn’t feature as prominently in their kitchens as a bouillabaisse or a bisque. Americans do it too, but the soup is a poor cousin to the far more popular pumpkin pie. And the Korean hobakjuk is as much pumpkin porridge as soup.
Here in Australia, however, pumpkin is regularly the most searched soup on recipe websites – a little weird as it is ridiculously easy to do. Like any smooth vegetable soup it’s essentially combining a cooked kilo of the veg in question with a litre of a suitable stock (vegetable for my vegetarian friends, or chicken for all but the most robust soups).
So here is the world’s simplest four ingredient pumpkin soup, plus ideas to lift it from ordinary to extraordinary.
THE SIMPLEST PUMPKIN SOUP
Dice and cook 3 medium brown onions and 4 minced garlic cloves in a little olive oil and butter over a low heat. When soft, add 2kg peeled and chopped chunks of pumpkin. Stir, then add 2L stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Blend the contents of the pan to your required smoothness and season to taste. Serve with a swirl of pouring cream. This makes enough soup for eight serves – enough for a meal for four now and another for the freezer.
THE RULES OF BLENDING
Don’t rush: You can’t blend undercooked pumpkin smooth no matter how hard you try. So wait until your veg is soft all the way through. Cool off: Inspirational food writer Nigel Slater believes cooling a little before blending makes for a finer puree. The right equipment: A standing liquidiser gives a finer puree than using a stick blender, but both will do the job. Top texture: Add more liquid for a runnier soup. This could be more stock, cream, milk or even coconut milk. Let off some steam: If using a standing liquidiser, remove the central spigot in the lid and cover with a tea towel to let the steam escape. If you don’t do this, you risk soup exploding all over the kitchen. Strain for perfection: To get your soup even smoother, pass it through a fine rounded sieve.
I like to roast wedges of pumpkin, which helps to reduce the moisture content, making it taste richer and sweeter. You can flavour the pumpkin at this point by rubbing it with a spice of choice. Place a couple of halved onions to cook with the pumpkin to either use in the soup or as a garnish.
Instead of roasting, you can also simmer in the liquid you will blend in.
FLAVOURING & GARNISHING
Thai Pumpkin Soup: To the onions, add 1 tbs minced galangal (or ginger), 1 tbs minced lemongrass, and the cleaned, chopped roots and stalks of a small bunch of coriander. Cook in a little coconut fat or peanut oil. Add shredded lime leaves and 1 tbs grated palm sugar to the onion mix once softened. Cook for a minute before adding the pumpkin. Toss to coat, then add the stock.
After blending, season to taste, stir in a cup of coconut milk and garnish with a squeeze of lime, some sliced red chilli and coriander leaves. Australian Pumpkin Soup: For a brighter, lighter soup, roast a couple of Granny Smith apples cut into wedges along with your pumpkin and a couple of onions. Then include these with the roast pumpkin when blending your soup with chicken stock.
Garnish this with a dollop of creme fraiche, some batons of fresh apple tossed in lemon juice and a couple of sage leaves that have been crisped up in a frypan in (what will become brown) butter and a little nutmeg. French Pumpkin Soup: Roast 1kg peeled pumpkin chunks with 5 garlic cloves, 2 halved red onions and 5 sprigs thyme. Discard the thyme. Squeeze out the garlic and flesh of the onions and puree with the pumpkin and 1L warm vegetable stock. Pass through a sieve, season, warm and serve topped with a dollop of creme fraiche, fresh thyme leaves and crushed toasted hazelnuts.