I’ve never been in -12ºC before and despite our home being quite warm, I was craving a bowl of hot soup to cup my hands around. My soup recipes tend to be based on whatever I can find in the cupboard coupled with how cold it is coupled with how blocked my sinuses are. This time, my sinuses were OK but my partner’s weren’t, it was pretty damn cold and I had frozen pumpkin in the freezer. Hence was born the spicy pumpkin soup. I will include suggestions for making it non-spicy if this is not up your alley. My pet peeve as far as soups go is the use of vegetable/chicken stock. The stock makes all soups taste the same and is extremely salty so I avoid it like the plague.
5 small potatoes, cut into quarters
1 medium onion cut into 1/8
1/2 of a small butternut squash cubed ( I used the other half to make a pumpkin pie)
4 cloves of garlic, mashed with the blade of a knife
3cm piece of fresh ginger with its skin peeled
2 dry red chillies or 1 teaspoon of crushed black peppercorns (optional if you like it spicy)
1 heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds
30mL thick cream (optional)
1-2 tablespoons of light olive oil
salt to taste
1. In a deep pot ( I used a pressure cooker without its lid as that’s the deepest pot I 0wn), heat the olive oil.
2. Add onions, ginger, chillies and garlic to the oil and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
3. Add potatoes and cumin seeds and saute for a further 2 minutes until the cumin emanates a strong aroma.
4. Add pumpkin cubes and saute for about 5 minutes. Since my cubes were frozen, I let them thaw for a couple of hours prior to soup making.
5. At this point, try cutting the vegetables with your spoon/ladle and they should still be firm but willing to break if you apply more force.
6. Add salt to suit your taste and pour enough water to fully submerge the vegetables in the pot.
7. Simmer the flame or lower the heat if you have an electric hob and let the mixture boil for 20 minutes or until all the vegtables have gone soft and collapse if you try to crush them with your spoon/ladle.
8. It is a good idea to let your veggies cool before blending them. However, I was impatient and stuck my hand blender in right away. Thankfully, my blender has a stainless steel body and coped with the heat but watch out if you have a plastic blender. Plastic-y soup isn’t the greatest.
9. Once you’ve puréed your soup mixture, put it back on the heat for 5-10 minutes or until it comes to a boil. During this time, add cream if you’d like to and adjust the salt/spice levels of the soup.
10. Serve hot with warm bread or toast. I happened to have a packet of James Martin’s Sundried tomato bread mix in my pantry that got converted to the bread roll(s) you see in the picture.
1. If you are vegan, you can definitely leave the cream out of the recipe. Perhaps use 1 chilli in that case as the soup is quite spicy with 2 chillies and no cream.
2. If you don’t have a blender of any description, you can use a potato masher to crush the veggies though your soup will be quite chunky. Alternatively, you can ladle the soup through a sieve and mash the veggies with the back of a metal spoon.
3. This recipe should work quite well if you used any other kind of pumpkin or sweet potato instead of butternut squash.