When I was little, every October my whole family (all four of us) would trek down to Royal Leamington Spa, where my grandparents lived, in order to go out to the pumpkin patch at Hatton Country World. I highly recommend this place as a family outing. There’s a gorgeous café, a guinea pig village, and even horse riding. The shopping village, next door, was where my mum and Nana would disappear to go shopping and come back laden with bags of clothing. The best shopping experience for my little brother and I was the old fashioned sweet shop, with excellent lollipops.
So we’d load up on sugar, and then go out and pick pumpkins from the pumpkin patch. When I say that, what I really mean is we would point, imperiously, at a ginormous pumpkin bigger than either of our heads, and get our dad to carry them all the way up to the carving station. My mum would always make sure, however, that we didn’t just get pumpkins for Jack O’Lanterns. There would also be one saved to make pumpkin soup with the next day.
So this is what we’re sharing today: a family recipe for the cosiest, most autumnal pumpkin soup you’ve ever had. I hope you like it! For extra cosy points, you could even bake your own bread. One of life’s truest pleasures is dipping warm bread into soup.
Ingredients: Onions, carrots (for colour), vegetable stock, smoked paprika, roasted pumpkin
Here is the issue with a family recipe: I don’t have exact measurements for you. Like a lot of my mum’s soup recipes, it’s very dependent on what you already have in the cupboard. For the vegetable stock, either use some you prepared earlier, or make up an oxo cubes worth (whatever feels right). Use a full pumpkin – but that will depend on how big the pumpkin is, and how much of it was just seeds. (You should always try to save the seeds to clean and then bake separately – they’re a great snack, and source of protein). I’d say use anywhere between three carrots and the whole bag. When adding onions, bear in mind that there is always less onion than it first appears, and sweating them makes them sort of… disappear.
Anyway, on with the recipe!
Chop up your pumpkin, removing all the gross guts and innards, but leave the skin on. Pop in a roasting pan, or just on a baking sheet, and drizzle with a little olive oil. At this point, you could add spices and what have you (I know Jamie Olive would) but honestly roasting squash of all kinds doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. Now the pumpkin is ready to go in the oven at 180 for ten to fifteen minutes, before starting the next step.
According to family tradition, most recipes should involve caramelising onions. Sweat the onions till translucent, but not brown (pre-caramelisation). This should take around 10 minutes.
Now you can chop and peel however many carrots you’ve settled on. Add these and the stock to the pot with the translucent onions and simmer for 20 minutes simultaneously.
Around half way through the simmering time, remove the pumpkin and leave to cool slightly.
When the simmering is done, remove the flesh from the skin of the pumpkin and add to the pot. Simmer for a further 10 minutes. As the pumpkin is already cooked, boiling all the veg together shouldn’t take long.
Now comes the best bit – PUREE. You’re making soup, don’t overthink it. Just get a stick blender, and do it in the pan, or pour the whole mess into a food processor or blender. Feel free to pour everything back into the pan.
Season with smoked paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Ta-dah!
Part of cosy eating is always serving food in a way that brings joy. Why not serve the soup in these gorgeous black clay bowls from La Muerte Tiene Permiso.