I’m sitting here sipping on my matcha green tea coconut milk (it tastes better than it sounds) writing this post and thinking about pumpkin, and weirdly pumpkin pie is the first thing that comes to mind, followed closely by the thought of pumpkin soup. It’s weird that pumpkin pie is the first thing I think of because I’ve had it only once in my life, and I’ve never even cooked it – I blame the Internet, Starbucks, and all the “pumpkin pie spice is life” memes. Pumpkin soup on the other hand when I was growing up was a family staple in the cooler months, partly because it was cheap to make bulk, but mostly because my mother looooves pumpkin soup – but only if it’s made with butternut pumpkin and served with fresh bread slathered in real butter.

Pumpkins are a pretty awesome vegetable (though apparently it’s technically a fruit) when you think about it. They come in so many shapes and sizes, and you can do so much with them – savoury and sweet – dips, pies, roast, salad, scones, muffins, … I could go on. There are so many strange looking pumpkins – the heirloom ones are the strangest!

My favourite type of pumpkin to cook is the butternut pumpkin (blame my mother for this bias) because it’s one of the sweeter ones. Don’t get me wrong, if you roast any kind of pumpkin I’m totally going to eat it and enjoy it, skin and all because roast pumpkin is all sorts of delicious! The little bit of caramelisation around the edges that happens when you roast pumpkin are the best. Although put it beside a well roasted potato (with a few mixed herbs) and it’s a difficult decision which to eat first. Have I mentioned roast dinners are fabulous?! Anyway, I’m getting distracted now thinking of a roast dinner.

Pumpkin soup is something that I’ve never enjoyed unless it was homemade. I tried a pre-made soup out of a tin packet…it just wasn’t the same. I think because of the good memories I have of sharing pumpkin soup around a big table with my whole family (my parents, two older sisters and my little brother) that I can’t ever really enjoy pumpkin soup unless it’s made by myself or someone I care about. If I take a moment a just sit and think back to the times I’ve had pumpkin soup, it brings a smile to my face and warms me from the inside out because it brings to mind the love of my mother, the joy of sharing a meal with my friends on a cool night, and the contentment I always feel after spending time with people I love and who love me.

I don’t know about you, but I love to find new ways to enjoy some of my favourite meals. I’m always on the hunt for a slight variation in one of my favourite meals that allows me to appreciate my favourite just that little bit more. I especially love seeing other people enjoying their favourite meal all the more because they’ve added a new ingredient or two that adds another dimension to it. It just lights up their face and that in turn makes me happy, because I love to cook and to I see someone else enjoying cooking and what they’ve created is a fabulous thing.

I think it was a couple of winters ago now, my mum and older sister fell back in love with pumpkin soup (it stopped being a favourite for a while because it was made just one to many times) – this time with a bit of a Thai style twist to it thanks to a friend of the family. I’ve got for you here a basic pumpkin soup recipe (the one my family uses) and then some changes you can make to add a bit a twist to it if you’re looking for something a little different.

Pumpkin Soup

(Serves approx. 6)

Ingredients

  • 1 kg butternut pumpkin (or more), skin off and diced
  • 2-3 medium onions, skin off and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1.5L – 2L liquid stock (chicken is great)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Nutmeg (ground)

Method

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat, until the onion has become opaque (clear-ish).
  2. Add the diced pumpkin and cook for about 8 minutes.
  3. Pour in the stock, a pinch of salt and pepper and nutmeg. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer covered until the pumpkin is tender.
  4. Remove from the heat, and (carefully) using a stick mixer (or in a blender) blend the mixture until smooth.
  5. Serve with fresh bread and butter.

Note: Depending on how thick you like your soup, adjust the amount of stock used. If you like, you can add a dollop of cream to the soup to serve and extra pepper to taste

Want to make it with a Thai-style twist?

  • You'll need - in addition to the above ingredients:
    • 1 medium sweet potato (peeled and diced)
    • 2 medium carrots (peeled and diced)
    • 1 table spoon of red curry paste (Thai style)
    • Juice of 1/2 lime (or more, to taste)
    • 2 x 270mL cans of coconut milk (full cream or light)
    • Fresh coriander, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • Optional: Use less pumpkin (1/2 butternut pumpkin) and instead use the sweet potato and carrots. Or you could just add the extra ingredients to make more soup. It's up to you.
  • At Step 2 - add the red curry paste
  • At Step 4 - add in the coconut milk and blend together. Then stir through the lime juice and coriander

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