I first tried pumpkin soup in Switzerland a few Christmases ago and have been ‘hooked’ ever since. Truly the Swiss seem to have making pumpkin soup down to a fine art, a fact I quickly discovered after trying at least three versions of it in several different restaurants, each of which was delicious, yet different to the others I had already experienced. Ever since my return home I have searched for a recipe that would be as much of a taste bud sensation as those were, and now, finally, after a few experiments (not all of which were successful), I think I may just have achieved what I set out to do.
This recipe is for a spicy curried pumpkin soup, one that will warm you up from the inside out on those bitterly cold winter nights. For those of you who are not big fans of curry, don’t be put off by its inclusion in the ingredients, (I am not a lover of curries myself), this flavour is far more subtle than a ‘full on’ curry, and of course you always have the option to reduce the amount of curry powder you include, or even omit it altogether if you prefer, either way this recipe will not disappoint.
A large saucepan
A frying/saute pan
A large kitchen knife (for preparing the pumpkin)
A vegetable/chopping knife
1 small (1-2 pound) pumpkin
2 medium sized onions
1 red chilli/jalapeno pepper
1 red bell pepper
3 sticks of celery
3 cloves of garlic
3 pints of chicken or vegetable stock
3 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves
3 tsp of mild curry powder
2 tsp of turmeric
1/2 a tsp of cayenne pepper
3 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp of cream (either soured or single)
1) Peel your onions and garlic, chop into chunks and place in food processor. Pulse several times until finely chopped and then place in a dish for later.
3) Cut your celery into chunks and add to the food processor with the pepper and then pulse several times until the combination is finely chopped. Set aside in separate dish for later.
4) Peel your carrots, slice into discs and then place in the food processor. Pulse several times until finely chopped and set aside in a separate dish for later.
6) Peel, de-seed (reserving seeds for later) and chop your pumpkin into 1″ chunks. Add the chunks to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
7) Place two tbsp of the olive oil into your large saucepan and heat.
9) Add the chopped jalapeno, celery, carrot and bell pepper to the pan and continue to sauté for a further eight minutes (stirring occasionally).
10) Add the chopped pumpkin, stock, bay leaves, curry, turmeric, cayenne, sugar, butter, 1 1/2 tsp of the salt and approx 1 tsp of ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for thirty minutes.
11) Meanwhile wash and dry the reserved pumpkin seeds, (this is most easily done by placing them in a sieve and washing thoroughly under a running cold tap. Dry by rolling the seeds in dry kitchen roll).
12) Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in the frying pan and heat to a moderate to high heat.
13) Add the pumpkin seeds and 1/2 tsp of salt to the oil and cook for about 30 seconds, shaking the pan constantly to stop the seeds from burning. Wait until all the seeds have popped and are toasted to a healthy brown colour, then remove from heat and drain.
14) Wash and chop your fresh parsley and then place in a bowl with the toasted pumpkin seeds.
15) Purée your soup in the food processor until smooth (you will probably need to do this in several batches).
16) Return the puréed soup to the pan, reheat, adjust seasoning according to taste and then stir in your cream.