Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pumpkin perfection

Pumpkin perfection

Creamy - but without the cream - butternut pumpkin soup is a winner

So we're back into my favourite time of year - autumn and winter - and with it, comes my favourite type of food - comfort food. Perfect pastas, brilliant braises, steaming soups.

Soups are one of my most favourite things to cook and eat. They're so easy to make, yet can be as simple or as decadent as you like. They can be clean, nourishing and light - like chicken noodle soup - or they can be dense and knock your socks off, fending off any would-be cold - like my spicy barley and lentil soup.

I've written before that there's a few things you can't get in Switzerland. But I was pleasantly surprised when the shops started stocking butternut pumpkin a few weeks ago. (Which, I must add, I was shocked to discover that butternut pumpkin - as it's called in Australia - is not actually a pumpkin at all, but rather a squash.) Picking one up, I suddenly had a craving for butternut pumpkin soup.

Perfect pumpkin creaminess
I had plenty of recipes amongst my recipe books and volumes, but none really suited what I wanted; a rich, smooth soup, easy to make, creamy - but without the cream. I've never been a big fan of cream in anything, but especially in soups. However I found the perfect recipe - pumpkin and chive soup. This recipe uses potatoes - the starch of which provides the smooth creaminess - a tiny bit of sour cream - for depth of flavour - and a sprinkling of chives - for a hint of crunch.

After sautéing onion and garlic, and then simmering peeled and cut potatoes and pumpkin in chicken stock (add veg stock to make this vegetarian-friendly), it's time to break out the equipment and whiz it all up in a food processor, in batches, to a super smooth, creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, add sour cream and finely chopped chives - and voila - pumpkin soup perfection. 

Peel, chop, simmer, whiz, stir - very easy to make. Sweet pumpkin taste, balanced by starchy potatoes and dense sour cream - very tasty. On a cold, wintry night, what else could you ask for?

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