What’s cooking today: Spiced pumpkin soup
On the coldest day of the week before a lovely hot spell sets in, I made this spicy soup while doffing a cap to the Weather Gods and hoping for a fine summer. There’s sure to be another dip to chilly temperatures soon enough, so store this up for then.
It’s the last of the winter broth, one more hearty soup before we (cross fingers and) say goodbye to the winter of 2022, the one that seemed to start early in southern Africa while Europe baked in unheard-of 40+ temperatures. But we have many British and continental readers too, so they might want to store this one up for the coming chill. Now the southern spring seems to be showing itself early, but we know the wiles of the Weather Gods well enough to know that it’s not over yet.
Pumpkin is at the heart of this dish, but there’s plenty of other veg too: onion of course, leek, carrots and celery, and a large yellow pepper for no particular reason other than I had it in the crisper and didn’t want to see it wasted. It lent a bit of sweetness to the soup.
There’s ginger and a range of spices too, and I used avocado oil for its mild flavour. It’s finished with double cream yoghurt, but you could use cream.
(Serves up to 4)
1 kg pumpkin, peeled and cubed
3 Tbsp avocado oil
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and grated
2 celery stalks, diced
1 leek, rinsed and sliced
1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
3 fresh ginger peeled and grated
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground aniseed
1 tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 litre water
500 ml vegetable stock
2 Tbsp coriander stems, chopped
500 ml double cream yoghurt
Coriander leaves, chopped, for garnish
Cubes of bread tossed in butter until golden
Peel the pumpkin and chop it into cubes. Prepare all the other vegetables. Sauté the onion and garlic in avocado oil on a low heat for a minute, stirring, then add the prepared leek, carrots, celery, yellow pepper, chopped coriander stems and the grated ginger. Stir in all the spices and cook gently, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
Add the cubed pumpkin, stir, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the water and stock, season with salt and pepper (be generous with the salt), and bring to a boil. Lower the heat a little and cook until the pumpkin is tender, about 20 minutes.
Process it with a handheld blender, return to the heat, and stir in the yoghurt. Bring it back to a simmer and let it cook for a few minutes more. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve with croutons (1 slice of bread, in small cubes, tossed in butter in a pan until golden) and chopped coriander. DM/TGIFood
Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.
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