I'm starting to notice little baby pumpkins at the farmer's market, which can only mean one thing: SOUP. If I had to pick one dish to see me through till spring, hands down it's a hearty pumpkin or winter squash soup. Usually though, if it's offered at a restaurant, especially in the UK, it will inevitably contain cream. That's fine - I prefer making my own soup anyway! And while I've made my fair share of butternut squash soup before, it's never been this good. I attribute it to the preparation, which admittedly takes a long time. Make a huge batch when you DO have time and refrigerate or freeze it.
This little orange-red bowl of delight will warm you up in three ways!
Can you think of anything more warming and satisfying on a cold day than roasted vegetables? This recipe takes time due to the fact that all of the main ingredients are roasted first. That smoky, almost sweet flavor comes directly from the oven.
The easiest way to warm up your food, whether roasted for an hour or not, is via the medium of the chili pepper. I like to slice a red chili pepper very thinly, seeds and all, and toss with the rest of the vegetables to make sure the heat of the chili distributes evenly.
Clearly, soup is a warming food. What do you want more than anything when you're sick? I remember bowls of Campbell's classic tomato soup with buttered white toast when I was home from school with a cold. That stuff could cure anything. Now I'm not so sure! Canned soups are generally pretty high in sodium and laden with preservatives. Better to stick to homemade, where you can handpick the ingredients, adjust according to your taste, and keep it for months in the freezer! You'll always have some to heat up as needed, just as simple as opening a can of Campbell's.
Roasted Pumpkin & Red Pepper Soup
- 2 red peppers, stalks removed
- 2 red onions, cut into 1/8ths
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 red chili, finely sliced
- 1 small pumpkin, seeds removed, chopped into chunks
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- fresh cilantro leaves to serve
- Heat the oven to 400F / gas mark 6.
- Place the red peppers on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper, and place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes. Rotate the peppers half way through. When finished, leave to cool. Peel off the skins, roughly chop and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the coconut oil, pumpkin, onions, garlic, red chili, carrots, and some salt and pepper in a roasting pan. Toss to coat and place in the oven. Roast for an hour, tossing and rotating the pan half way through.
- When all the roasted veg is done, spoon everything into a large pot. Turn on the heat, pour in the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Take off the heat and puree the soup, either with a hand-held blender or transfer to a standalone blender or food processor.
- Serve with a garnish of fresh cilantro leaves.