Roasted pumpkin soup with walnut bread
The pumpkin is my favourite autumn ingredient. Roasting the flesh brings out a sweet earthiness, gentle on the palate but capable of handling extra spices. If you can’t get your hands-on culinary pumpkins, or fancy making this soup out of season, butternut squash is available most of the year and works equally well.
Serves 6 Ingredients: Roasted pumpkin soup:
1.5kg pumpkin, deseeded and chopped into cubes
400g mini sweet peppers 200g potato, chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
70ml single cream
1tsp dried chilli flakes
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper, to season
125g wholemeal bread flour 125g strong white bread flour 30g unsalted butter 7g instant yeast
1tsp brown sugar
2tbsp warm water
100g chopped walnuts
Start by making the walnut bread. Pour the milk into a pan and bring to scalding point over a medium heat. Remove the pan from the hob and stir in the sugar and butter. Leave to cool.
Stir together the yeast and warm water to create a paste. In a larger bowl, sift together the flour and salt then add the egg, the yeast mixture, and about three quarters of the milk. Use a knife to bring the dough together - add more milk if it seems dry.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Pop it back
in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm draught free place for about an hour.
Chop the walnuts into small pieces and gently knead them into the dough for two minutes. Place the dough in a 450g500g loaf tin, cover as before, and leave to rise for a further 25 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/180c(fan)/ gas mark 6.
Bake the bread in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Leave on a rack to cool while you get your soup on the go.
Dice the pumpkin, potato and peppers, discarding the pumpkin stalk but retaining the seeds. Scatter the veg on a baking tray before drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling with dried chilli flakes. Roast in the oven for 90 minutes at 200C/180c(fan)/gas mark 6.
Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a pan and add the pumpkin seeds. Fry for two minutes, stirring, until the seeds are puffed up and toasted.
When they’re ready, blitz the veg in a blender along with the stock and cream. Pour the soup into a pan over a low heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds and a hunk of walnut bread.