Winter picnic: roasted pumpkin soup.

Initially revered for its impressive colour, size, and roundness by its misshapen brother and sister Squashes, the fate of the Pumpkin is a tragic one. Its “big moment” consists of being disembowelled, barbarically disfigured by parents lacking artistic skill, paraded to insensitive children from the end of the drive, and chucked away or forgotten about from the 1st November onward. 

Though they look on the Pumpkin with a sense of pity, the other, more fortunate squashes – Butternut, Cucurbita, and Acorn, for example – can’t help but exalt, all in the name of self-preservation. Not only are they saved from the humiliating fate of the Pumpkin, but their time is limited only by the season, and not prematurely by the date that marks Halloween.

squash

But there are a few lucky escapees. From a pile of fellow Pumpkins all predestined to undergo an artistically inept knife, are one or two Pumpkins subject to a kinder fate. Whilst the better-looking Pumpkins are granted the short-lived vanity of beauty, they are also more likely to be the ones who go under the knife (of disfigurement). So that’s good news for you, ugly Pumpkins! You will most likely find yourselves in the loving hands of someone who regrets the Pumpkin’s wasted youth incurred by the Halloween “festivities”. This person will see the beauty of the Pumpkin beyond the 31st October, and well into the winter months.

pexels-photo-265315

You, reader, can be that person, the one who refuses to bow down to the frivolities of Western culture, the one who picks the uglier pumpkin, and hacks it to pieces for a delicious pumpkin soup. Lovely!

Below is a recipe I have adapted slightly from Cookie and Kate’s gorgeous veggie blog. So now you can enjoy your pumpkin soup in the knowledge that your pumpkin has undergone a kinder fate – one where it’s been peeled, carved up, and blitzed into a million teeny-weeny pieces.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1.5 kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 75g salted butter, plus more if needed
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves
  • 800 ml vegetable stock
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey, or 3/4 tbsp golden syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Peel the pumpkin, then halve it and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the chopped pumpkin and roast for 35 minutes, or until the flesh is soft.
  3. Heat 25g of butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over a low heat and add the onion. Cover for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the pumpkin flesh, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Pour over the stock, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. After the ten minutes, blend the mixture. Transfer back to the pan, and melt in the remaining 50g of butter, then the maple syrup, then the cream. Do not boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Your pumpkin soup is now ready to be transferred to a thermos and taken on your winter picnic!

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