The very first real tingle of Autumn arrived in Brisbane last weekend. Gloriously sunny days, temperatures in the mid 20s with the mercury creeping down to below 15 at night. Now to many of you, this wouldn’t count as Autumn and to some, it would be positively balmy but to Brisbanites (for that is what we are called), this slight dip in temperature is a welcome change and reason to start planning some cold weather menus.
Pumpkin Soup is a perennial standby in the cook’s repertoire. Heat some stock (or even water), gently cook some diced pumpkin and then puree until smooth. That’s the basic recipe. From this base, you can add any number of variants:
- Something creamy – cream, sour cream, creme fraiche or natural yoghurt
- Asian themed – coconut milk, ginger, lemongrass and coriander
- Toppings – chives, bacon and croutons
- Flavourings – cummin, curry powder, harissa, tinned tomatoes or creamed corn
The list is endless…… I think though, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Nobody likes that insipid, orange dishwater that is sold in tins at the supermarket or served at ‘all you can eat’ buffets. It’s a crime against humanity and The Great Pumpkin.
This Pumpkin Soup is a constant in our house over the winter. We are so used to eating this thicker, low GI version that when we have a ‘normal’ Pumpkin Soup, it seems odd to us. Deliciously hearty with barely any fat, this is a great ‘top up’ so you don’t fall into the trap of bigger portions of your main meal during the cold months. This recipe comes from a little book that I picked up 2nd hand called ‘Sensational Soups’ by Robyn Martin. Published in NZ in 1998, I suspect it’s out of print but the ISBN is: 1877193518 in case you are keen.
Pumpkin & Dahl Soup
- 1 x onion
- 2 x cloves garlic
- 500g pumpkin (I prefer Kent)
- 2 x tbsp oil
- 1 x cup yellow split peas
- 5 x cups cold chicken stock or water
- seasoning to taste
- Peel & chop onion (medium dice). Peel and chop garlic (fine dice).
- Peel and de-seed pumpkin. Cut into chunks approximately 5cm x 5cm.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onion and garlic and saute until clear.
- Add split peas and COLD chicken stock or water. Do not season.
- Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Add pumpkin, simmer uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes or until pumpkin starts to break down.
- Use a fork or potato masher to mash pumpkin and split peas together.
- Season to taste and serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt
- Why cold stock or water? Never put pulses or legumes into hot liquids. It toughens their skins and make them difficult to soften and cook.
- Why no seasoning until the end? For the same reason. Salt in particular will toughen the split peas. Always season at the end.
- Any amount of pre-soaking of the split peas in cold (tap) water will speed up cooking time.
- Omit the oil for fat free. Use vegetarian stock for vegetarian and vegan.
- This soup freezes very well