Butternut Pumpkin Soup

Ok, guilty! As a little girl sometimes I did want a pumpkin to turn into a carriage fit for a Princess and sweep me off to a glamourous ball! But with this pumpkin soup recipe, I will happily swap my glass slippers for some cosy ugg boots. With cooler days now creeping into our weeks, this nourishing bowl of spiced, velvety deliciousness might be more along the lines of your happy ever after too. The sweet nuttiness of the butternut pumpkin combined with the spicy flavour of cloves and nutmeg, not forgetting the gooey roasted garlic makes my heart go ‘boom’. Who needs a Prince Charming when you’ve got this as company?! 

Ingredients:

1 whole butternut pumpkin (organic if possible)

1 large orange sweet potato 

1 small-medium white onion 

1 teaspoon of whole cloves

½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg

1 small whole garlic bulb

A few sprigs of thyme

1ltr of plant-based chicken or vegetable stock

A few glugs of olive oil

A generous knob of butter

2-3 good pinches of sea salt flakes

A few good grinds of freshly cracked pepper to taste

A dollop of cream (Crème Fraiche, Greek yoghurt or coconut cream also yummy)

A sprinkling of pumpkin seeds for serving

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (fan-forced).
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom and de-seed.
  3. Cut one-half of the pumpkin into 5cm chunks leaving the skin on and pop into a roasting dish. Coat well with olive oil, add a couple of good pinches of salt and a few cracks of pepper.
  4. Take your whole garlic bulb and cut the top off (opposite end to the roots) so you can see some of the garlic bulbs exposed (this will make it easier to pop out the garlic cloves once roasted). Put the garlic bulb (cut-end facing down) in with the pumpkin chunks, drizzle with olive oil and roast it all for 25-30 mins or until the pumpkin and garlic is soft. Don’t let it burn but a little caramelisation is great and will add some depth of flavour.
  5. Meanwhile de-seed and remove the skin from the other half of the pumpkin and chop into chunks (about 5cm).
  6. Peel and chop the sweet potato into chunks about the same size.
  7. Peel the onion and stick the cloves into the skin all over so it looks like a cute little hedgehog!
  8. Grab a good heavy pot or saucepan, add a glug of olive oil, a good pinch of salt and some cracked pepper, a knob of butter, and a few sprigs of thyme and sauté the pumpkin and sweet potato for 2-3 mins.
  9. Pour in the stock, place the ‘hedgehog’ onion in the centre (make sure everything is only just submerged, if not add more stock) 
  10. Add the nutmeg, pop the lid on and let it simmer for 20-25 mins or until you can stick a knife easily through the pumpkin and sweet potato.
  11. Once the roasted pumpkin chunks are done, remove the skin and add them to the pot. Squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves into the pot as well and give it a good stir. 
  12. Remove the onion so you can take out the cloves. Then pop the onion back into the pot. Make sure no cloves have come loose in the soup.
  13. Let it cool and give it a good whizz in a blender (or use a handheld blender) until it’s silky smooth. Check it for seasoning and if you think it needs more, add it at this point. Pop it back into the pot to heat it through.
  14. Serve with a dollop of cream, crème fraiche, Greek yoghurt or coconut cream. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and pumpkin seeds and devour with some yummy toasted sourdough bread (a kumara sourdough is a perfect match for this Cinderella! 

Nutrition Bite: Butternut pumpkin or squash is a fantastic source of vitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C & B, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. One cup of cooked butternut pumpkin gives you more than 450% of the RDI for vitamin A and over 50% of the RDI for vitamin C. Having lots of vitamin A in our diets helps us with eye & bone health, immune function, and regulating cell growth.

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