Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup must be the most ubiquitous soup in the world. It seems whenever there's a soup of the day on a restaurant menu, it's going to be pumpkin. Everyone loves it and it's cheap and easy to make.

When I go to a restaurant, I like to try something I haven't had before, so find it really annoying when chefs take the easy way out and make a plain and boring pumpkin soup. There are so many things you can add to it to make it different, yet still delicious.

Here's the adaptions I like to do to take pumpkin soup up a notch in the culinary stakes.

Thai Pumpkin Soup 1
Chop an onion and saute in a mixture of butter and oil with 2 tbs of red curry paste.
Add chopped peeled pumpkin that has been microwaved or steamed for 5 minutes or so.
Add chicken stock or water and chicken stock powder and cook until pumpkin is soft.
Process and add up to 1/2 can of coconut milk.
Season to taste.
Serve with chopped coriander.

Thai Pumpkin Soup 2
Make in the same way as above, but use a blend of pumpkin and sweet potato. Add some grated fresh ginger for extra zing.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Make using the same method as Thai Pumpkin Soup, but add Indian Curry Paste such as Korma or Tikka.
Instead of coconut milk use light pouring cream or plain yoghurt and serve with pappadams.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Place 2 tbsp oil in baking dish and place in pre heated 200 degree oven.
Microwave or steam pumpkin
Place in roasting pan and bake until browned on all sides.
Add to sauteed onion and proceed as normal.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup 2
Use a mixture of carrot and pumpkin or sweet potato and pumpkin

4 P's Soup - Pea, Pasta, Pancetta and Pumpkin
Saute onion as normal and make regular plain pumpkin soup. When cooked add some pouring cream or cream cheese before blending. Add to this mixture some cooked ribbon pasta, fried diced pancetta (or bacon), some frozen peas (or corn niblets).
Test for seasoning and serve with crusty bread.

Pumpkin & Roasted Cherry Tomato
The acid in the tomatoes adds a wonderful tang to the soup. Just add to plain pumpkin soup, no other flavours are needed.
Roast some cherry tomatoes in olive oil in a hot oven until the skins burst. When cool enough to handle, pop them out of their skins and add to your pumpkin soup. Process, top with some chopped chives or parsley and serve with crusty bread.

No more boring pumpkin soup! If you have any further ideas, please list in the comments section below.