Tuesday 22 May 2012

Roast Pumpkin Soup with Chickpeas, Leeks and Spiced Croutons

From For the Love of Food, Denis Cotter, Collins, 2011.

My son brought along one of the pumpkins he had grown so I immediately set off looking for recipes. Pumpkin and chickpeas are always a great partnership so I set off to make this soup.

The pumpkin first had to be roasted. It was cut into a couple of large slices that were then brushed with olive oil and set in a baking dish. About a cup of stock was poured into the baking dish and the pumpkin was cooked for about a half an hour.

In a large saucepan the other vegetables were cooked. One half of a fennel, chopped, was sautéed with some chopped shallots for a few minutes. Chopped garlic was then added with grated ginger (I only used half the quantity because I usually find ginger is overdone), leeks (I only used 2 though the recipe called for 3 and even then it seemed far too much) and a can of chickpeas. These were sautéed for a few minutes before white wine was added. The whole lot was covered with baking paper and simmered for 15 minutes.

The cooked pumpkin was cut into a rough mash that still maintained some larger lumps and added to the vegetables in the pot. Further stock was added, it was the brought to the boil and simmered for a few minutes longer. It was then seasoned and some lemon juice added.

The soup was served with spiced croutons that had been made by chopping bread into small blocks and tossing them in an oven dish with ground cumin, ground fennel, crushed dried chillies and olive oil. These were cooked in the oven until they were crisp.

This was a thick soup that was a meal in itself. The ginger still came through a little strongly even though cut back to half the quantity. If I made it again I would cut back the leeks to one and leave out the ginger altogether, or at least cut it back much further. The soup, like many of the thicker soups, was much nicer the next day when the flavours had all matured.

The croutons turned out, for me, to be the hero of the dish and the spiciness and heat lifted the soup tremendously.

Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔

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