Let’s be honest, Autumn is basically just an excuse to eat lots of delicious food, right? In that respect it shares a lot with winter, spring and summer – I use the changing season as an excuse to eat.
When it comes to the crisp leaves and vibrant golds and oranges of autumn there are some true highlights. Apples are coming into season which means it’s time for crumbles (even savoury ones, like this tomato crumble), there’s plenty of excuses to have people round for a roast, and pumpkins are suddenly in EVERYTHING – or at least the name is, so much ‘pumpkin spiced’ stuff is devoid of our orange friends, which is a shame. It also heralds the beginning of soup season, and what better way could there be to combine soup and pumpkins than in a soup? Oh, and just FYI, adding sweet potato to make it pumpkin and sweet potato soup is what you need in your life right now.
I absolutely love soup and will make many, many pots between now and March – there’s an entire section of the blog devoted to soup – but for now let’s stick with the seasonal theme and talk about pumpkins. Because why on earth not?
We’re not quite as enthusiastic about pumpkin season as our friends across the pond who take Hallowe’en to the next level, but when I spotted one in the shop on Monday evening I couldn’t resist. Convenient timing, as the reflooring of my kitchen, hall and bathroom started ahead of schedule – Monday evening’s soup was the last opportunity for home cooking for quite a few days.
There’s still half a pumpkin in my fridge, so more pumpkin recipes to come (if it’s still alive when I get back in my kitchen…), so keep your eyes peeled and don’t through away the flesh you carve from your pumpkin!
This recipe is an original to The Usual Saucepans as it was made up whilst I was wandering around the supermarket thinking what I could make for lunch for the following day. It’s perfect for autumn, and can be customised according to what you can get (butternut squash would work instead of the pumpkin, for example). It serves 4.
- 1/2 medium sized pumpkin
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 small onion
- 1 tbsp rapeseed/olive oil
- 600ml vegetable stock
- 1.5 tsp ground cumin
- salt & pepper
- Pumpkin seeds to decorate (optional)
Start by dicing your onion into little chunks. Heat your oil in medium sized pan on a medium heat, and when it’s hot add in your diced onion. Turn the heat down slightly and let the onion soften (you don’t want it to colour).
Next set about preparing your pumpkin and sweet potato. In both cases, peel the vegetable carefully and then cut into roughly equal chunks – mine were about half the size of my thumb – but the smaller they are the faster they will coo. [TIP: pumpkins are much easier to peel if you first cut into slices, like you would a melon, and then peel those; it takes slightly longer but is easier].
Once the onions have softened add the sweet potato to the pot along with about 100ml of the stock (make using cubes or a powder if you like, it’s what I do). Put the lid on and leave for 3-4 minutes to allow the sweet potato to soften a little in the steam. Then add in the pumpkin pieces, replace the lid and give it two minutes on a high heat (add more water if it is risking drying out).
Pour in the rest of the stock and the cumin. Season with salt and pepper, stir thoroughly to ensure that everything is mixed through. Leave to simmer, covered, on a medium heat until all of the vegetables are cooked (but not falling apart). At that point blend thoroughly and check the seasoning, adding more if required.
Soup flavours intensify over time, so I would always suggest cooking a couple of hours before serving if you can – I usually make mine in the evening and eat for lunch the next day.