Pumpkin and Red Pepper Soup

I make Pumpkin soup every October, I love it. It’s really easy to make, tasty, comforting and this recipe makes a big batch which I freeze in portions and work my way through throughout the month. There is a great pumpkin soup recipe in my Vegetarian Cookery book (see my About page for more info) which this is based on, but over the years I have altered it a bit. I have added red peppers and now roast the veg with garlic first to add an extra depth of flavour and I’ve changed the herbs and spices used and their quantities to suit my taste. Give it a go and tell me what you think.

The pumpkin can easily be substituted for squash and prepared in exactly the same way. If you stick to pumpkin though, do try to find an eating pumpkin (sometimes called sweet pumpkins) which are much smaller than the carving pumpkins and much more flavoursome. Most supermarkets stock eating pumpkins at this time of year in the veg section. The big carving pumpkins are edible of course, but they are grown for their size, shape and colour rather than for taste. So if you are using a carving pumpkin you might want to just put half the amount in and top it up with butternut squash to give it some flavour.

I use whole garlic cloves – not crushed, skin left on – when roasting the veg as it adds a subtle flavour to the soup without it tasting of garlic. These roasted cloves can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days and added to sauces or used to make garlic mayo, garlic mash or garlic bread. Just chop the end off a clove and squeeze out the delicious, soft centre.

Ready in 90 mins (10 mins prep, 40 mins roasting, 30 mins on the hob, 10 mins blending and reheating) – serves 4-6.

Ingredients

  • 650g of pumpkin, seeds removed and chopped into bite-sized chunks (no need to peel)
  • 2 red capsicum peppers (also known as sweet peppers or salad peppers), chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A knob of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely diced
  • 450g of white potato, chopped into bite-sized chunks (no need to peel)
  • 600mls of hot water
  • 1 veg stock cube
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 300mls of milk

Method

  • Preheat oven to 220c / 200c fan / gas mark 7.
  • Place the pumpkin, peppers, garlic, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a large oven-proof dish or baking tray and mix well so all the veg is coated in the oil. – Pic 1
  • Roast for 40 mins, giving it a good mix and turn half way through. The squash should be soft and just starting to brown.
  • Put the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large pan and place on the hob on a medium/high heat.
  • Once the butter has melted, add the onion and potato to the pan.
  • Cook for 10 mins, stirring regularly until the onions are starting to brown, then add the roasted pumpkin and peppers (not the garlic) – Pic 2
  • Cook for 10 mins, stirring regularly.
  • Turn the heat down slightly and add the hot water and the stock cube. – Pic 3
  • Cover and simmer for 10 mins or until the veg is cooked through and tender.
  • Add the nutmeg, basil and black pepper. Stir well and take off the heat.
  • Once cooled slightly, pour into a food processor or use a hand held blender to blend until smooth. – Pic 4
  • Return to the pan and heat gently, adding the milk a little at a time until all the milk is combined and the soup is hot, but not boiling. – Pic 5
  • Taste and add more seasoning if you like. Serve with crusty brown rolls or an assortment of sandwiches.
Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3
Pic 4
Pic 5
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