well, admittedly not outright freezing yet, but the chill has most certainly set in and this week was ushered in with dark skies and downpour. despite my near-constant moaning about the lack of british summer, this time of year finds me surprisingly cheery about the onset of autumn as the novelty of crunchy golden leaves under foot, cashmere jumpers, wooly socks and cosy nights in are still fresh. give me a week or two. it will lose it’s charm i’m sure.
while i’m embracing the chill though, i get all excited for slow-cooked stews, hot chocolates a go-go, and my all-time autumn favourite, my mum’s pumpkin soup. this soup is cherished in my family. no one – i say, no one – makes pumpkin soup like my mama. (nor christmas trifle, lasagna or those aforementioned muffins, while we’re at it, but i digress).
now, a little disclaimer: the name of this soup is slightly misleading, as it actually uses butternut squash. but down under, us odd aussies call them butternut pumpkins, and class them as such. so technically it is butternut squash soup, which is no less delicious, but i couldn’t bear to change the name of this beloved recipe, which has always been ‘pumpkin soup’ in my house. use butternut squash, use butternut pumpkin if you’re in oz, and use a small pumpkin if that’s handy too. i’m not fussy.
you will need:
- 1 butternut squash (or small pumpkin) approx. 2lb 2oz
- 1 large potato
- 1 onion
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp ground chilli powder
- 2/3 cup double cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- a few dollops of créme fraiche
- chives for garnish
remove all the skins, seeds or any other undesirables from the pumpkin/squash, potato and onions and chop into large chunks. chop up the celery and add all the vegetables to a large pot. add the vegetable stock (or chicken if you prefer – fresh for preference but from concentrate will do) and season with salt, pepper and chilli powder. if you’re not a lover of spicy, just use a tiny pinch or deduct the chilli powder altogether, but you’ll miss out on the subtle hit of fiery heat that i love about this soup. up to you though, if you want something strictly creamy.
let the vegetables and stock simmer on the stovetop until the vegetables are soft and give way when pressed with a spoon. transfer in batches to a blender and puree, with the spout removed to allow for steam (cover with a dishcloth instead). once all the soup is smooth, return to to the pot and stir in the cream. at this point i allow to sit, covered, for several hours to really let the flavours develop, and then return to the heat to warm through when i’m ready to eat.
ladle your creamy golden liquid between bowls, add a decadent dollop of créme fraiche and a sprinkling of chives. add thickly sliced hunks of toasted bread dripping in butter to dunk into the warm soup. snuggle up on the couch in front of an old movie, and slurp smugly as you watch the wind and rain howl against your window.