Pumpkin is a wonderfully forgiving vegetable. It patiently sits in the darkness of your larder (that also doubles as a garage in our house), waiting for months on end until you feel ready to use it. Every now and then there's hope that the end is near. I brought it into the kitchen for a few days in early January, planning to make Johanna's wonderful blue cheese and roasted pumpkin quiche again, but eventually took it back to its place in the garage. In early February, we had to move the pumpkin indoors again, as the temperatures fell way below -20ºC and we needed to make sure the pumpkin survived the coldwave. But still it didn't make it to the kitchen and was returned to the garage a few days later.
The pumpkin was finally brought into the warmth of our kitchen a week ago. The particular pumpkin in question - some 2.5 kg in weight, unpeeled - was given to us by K's mum last October. She wanted the seeds back, so she could grow new pumpkins in her allotment. As the spring is finally reaching the shores here, we decided it was time to return the pumpkin seeds to K's mum and do something with the pumpkin itself. It was nice to see that even if our pumpkin had been feeling a bit neglected over the last few months, it didn't show - it was still bright yellow and moist inside when cut open.
Half of the pumpkin found its way into this simple and delicious soup, slightly sweet in taste, smooth in texture and beautifully yellow in colour. Wonderfully comforting soup, let me tell you..
1 kg pumpkin flesh, cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp demerara sugar
1 litre of good vegetable stock (I used Marigold)
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Cut the peeled and seeded pumpkin into chunks, finely chop the onion.
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add pumpkin and onions and stir. Fry gently for about five minutes, then stir in the sugar.
Add the stock, season with salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the pumpkin has softened.
Pureé the soup in a blender until smooth. Re-heat, and serve with a dollop of cream and croutons (optional).