The best about this season? Soup! Lots of it. In all variations, textures, flavours and colours.
Some of you might have noticed that the blog is taking on more of a cooking theme at the moment, and less baking’s going on. That’s because autumn always kickstarts a wish to make comfort food. Food that warms the belly and heart at the end of a cold day outside.
I don’t know why, but autumn always makes me feel ‘at home’. Maybe it’s because the colder weather makes it cozy to stay inside. Maybe it stems from watching too many US TV series set in New England, where somehow it’s always autumnal. Or maybe it’s because I always marvelled at that pumpkin farm depicted in my highschool geography book. I’ve always had a thing for pumpkins. They’re just fabulous. With their round bellies, big warts and odd shapes, they are ideal for making all sorts of things with – from pies, cakes and quiches to stews, roasts and, well, soup!
So over to this week’s recipe: a creamy pumpkin coconut soup, infused with a hint of chili and cinnamon and spiced up with a dollop of basil pesto.
It’s quite an unusual combination – you normally wouldn’t think of adding some Italian-style pesto to a curry-flavoured soup, but believe me it surprisingly works incredibly well!
I know I called this recipe a pumpkin soup in the title, but I’m using butternut squash to make it. That’s because it doesn’t really matter which kind of pumpkin you use, it will always taste amazing. Here in the UK butterbut squash is widely available and quite cheap at the moment, so I opted for that variety to make my soup. But feel free to use the flesh from your carved-out Halloween pumpkin. ★
Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Basil Pesto
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1 tsp ginger paste (or grated fresh ginger)
1 tsp lemongrass paste (optional)
1 tsp dried chili flakes
800g butternut squash (trimmed weight)
1 tsp cinnamon
400ml coconut milk
700ml vegetable stock
4-6 tbsp good quality basil pesto
Get started by peeling and deseeding your butternut squash. Cut it into cubes, roughly 2 cm each. Chop the onion and finely chop the garlic.
Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a heavy saucepan. Fry the onion until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass paste and fry for another minute. Add the butternut squash, the cinnamon and the chili flakes and fry for another 5 minutes until the butternut squash has heated up and is releasing some of its juices.
Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the butternut squash is soft.
Let the mix cool down a bit and pour into a blender (you might have to do this is batches – don’t overfill the blender unless you want your kitchen exploding with soup). Blend into a smooth soup. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper.
Serve each portion of soup with a generous tablespoon of good quality pesto. So soothing!