Spicy Roast Pumpkin and Apple Soup

I just crave soup when the weather turns. As the light fades and the trees glow in their autumn finery, my thoughts always turn to soups and stews. This soup is our new favourite – made it for the first time this year and oh! it’s so good that we didn’t have enough left to freeze from the first batch… It’s particularly nice with crusty bread to dip in – Seamus bakes his own no-knead semi-sourdough (fancy that!) but even a toasted white loaf will do!

We tried to grow our own pumpkins this year but they didn’t flower until very late, so the fruit never developed. Faced with all the food waste going on at Halloween – and finding cheap big pumpkins in the supermarkets – we decided to roast up a big batch of pumpkin to freeze for the winter. We’d been thinking of risottos and stews, but one afternoon this week I was overcome with an intense desire for soup, so there you are. The apples used in this recipe are our own – harvested weeks ago and on the cusp of growing a bit soft, but perfect in this!

Ingredients

  • 500g of roast pumpkin (see below for a ‘how to’)
  • 500g of apples (cookers, if possible, though eaters will work too)
  • Vegetable stock (cube, jar, or make your own) – enough for 1L of liquid
  • Salt, chili flakes, black pepper, cinnamon
  • Herbs (whatever you have to hand – we use oregano, mint and rosemary from the garden) and a bit of oil for the roast pumpkin (we use sunflower)
  • Roast pumpkin seeds (see below – save the seeds from your pumpkin and roast them at the same time)
  • 150ml oat milk (or other milk/mylk of choice – you can leave this out but the texture is nicer with the milk in)

You’ll also need a (stick) blender, but if you don’t have one a potato masher works really well!

Roast Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds

Cut your pumpkin into long wedges, like you would a matermelon. Cut along the inside to remove the stringy bits and the seeds – set them aside in a bowl. Cut each wedge into pieces for roasting – no need to be precise here, just aim for roughly the same size for all of them. Don’t bother peeling your pumpkin – the skin comes off really easily once it’s roasted. Place your pumpkin pieces onto a baking tray or into a baking dish, and drizzle with oil. Scatter some herbs and salt. We used rosemary, oregano and mint as it was what was at hand (our herb plot is still producing!) but any herbs will do. Dried is totally fine – no need to buy fresh ones if you don’t grow your own. We actually use dried oregano and mint – we dry it ourselves and keep it in jam jars. Put it in the oven at high heat (we have an aga so it’s top oven), about 180-200C, and roast until tender. Prick the pieces with a fork and if they feel like food (as opposed to decorative pumpkin) they’re good to go. Let them cool – then they should be easy to peel. Easy peasy!

Now for the pumpkin seeds! Separate them from the stringy bits and wash them thoroughly. Their slimy goo might be quite hard to remove but you can dry them to help with that. Spread them on a layer of kitchen towel and set them on your cooker or a radiator. They’ll change colour to a lighter, off-white cream, and the slime just flakes off. Once they’re slime free chuck them on a baking tray or into a baking dish, spreading them out. Drizzle with a bit of oil and a sprinkle of salt, and bake for 10 mins at 180-200C (top oven, aga folks). They’ll turn a nice amber colour when they’re ready. Decant them into a bowl to cool and sprinkle them liberally with salt.

(And try not to eat them all at once! Save some for the soup…)

Makin’ Soup

Prepare your stock (we use cubes). Put it on a low simmer. While it heats, peel the skin off your pumpkin pieces, and add them to your soup. Grab 3 decent-sized apples and core them, removing any brown bits as you go along. Chop them into bits the same size as your pumpkin bits and add them to your soup. Turn up your cooker (or move to the left cooking plate) and bring to a boil. Season with salt, black pepper, cinnamon and chili flakes. I like my soup spicy so added rather a lot of Chili! Cook until all apple pieces are mushy. Take your pot off the heat and blend your soup – with a stick blender or a potato masher. Be careful not to burn yourself on the splashes! Once it’s all nice and blended add your milk/mylk – no need to put it back on the cooker, just stir it in.

Serve just on its own with your pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top, or – if you’re feeling fancy – a sprig of rosemary. Be sure to have plenty of bread for dipping and soaking up the pumpkin goodness!

You can store this in the fridge in an air-right container for a few days, or you can freeze it.

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