Autumn has returned and along with it, the golden members of the gourd family, i.e. squash & pumpkins are back on the menu. As daylight darkens and the winds sharpen, there is nothing more satisfying than a bowl of creamy, velvety gourdy soup. For vegetarians, use vegetable stock (obviously, well done Ali) and for all those vegans and vehement waistline watchers, don’t add the double cream… For everyone else, add a glug more.

Top Tips…

Size does matter – the smaller you go, the more satisfied you’ll be. For pumpkins. Unfortunately. Use the Cinderella-style variety for carving and a smaller sugar pumpkin for cooking.

  • LEVEL: Easy
  • Prep: 20 Mins
  • Cook: 25 Mins
  • SERVES: 6
  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

INGREDIENTS

for the Soup

3 tbsp. olive oil
½ medium pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
1 small squash (try kabocha), peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
1 tsp. dried chili
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. cumin
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 litre vegetable stock or chicken stock
150ml double cream (optional)
pinch sea salt

for the Seeds

70g pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
pinch sea salt

 

Method

1. First, preheat the oven to 170°C. Place the chopped pumpkin and squash on two large baking trays. Rub with olive oil (leaving 1 tbsp., for later), chili, coriander and cumin. Sprinkle over sea salt and roast for 1 hour, or until a knife can be easily inserted into the flesh.

2. Whilst the gourd is roasting, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan, over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook for 15 minutes, or until the veg has softened but not coloured.

3. Still waiting for that gourd, set your attention to the seeds. In a small bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with olive oil, chili powder and cumin. In a medium pan, over a medium heat (that’s the last ‘medium’, I promise) heat 1 tsp. unsalted butter. Add the spiced pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly puffed and golden brown (15-18 minutes). Once cooked, sprinkle with sea salt and leave to one side.

4. When the gourd (three times a charm) is ready, add the vegetable / chicken stock to the pan of veg and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and add the gourd (I just can’t stop) and double cream (optional). Puree with a hand blender, adding water if the consistency is too thick. For a velvet-like texture, if you can face it, pour the soup through a fine sieve.

5. To serve, ladle into bowls and scatter over the spiced seeds. Gourd it’s good.