Spicy pumpkin soup

This tasty seasonal soup uses small eating pumpkins/butternut squash, not the giant Jack o’Lanterns people use for Halloween. I used a pumpkin the size of a large grapefruit and half a butternut squash I had left over from another meal. I also bought a couple of adorable munchkin pumpkins but I struggled to chop them up – my knife just got stuck in the hard flesh! So I gave up – I will use them for table decorations another time perhaps.

The potato is included because it helps thicken the soup. I’ve only used water here, rather than chicken stock, so that it counts as a vegan recipe (and I almost never use stock cubes in my recipes).  In any case the spices give the soup lots of flavour, you really don’t need stock. You could use fresh chillies instead of dried flakes of course but I didn’t have any in the fridge.

The use of cardamom gives this soup a really spicy and fragrant flavour – cardamom is one of my favourite spices. I also used coriander seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar, but ground coriander would do.

Ingredients

  • Small eating pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks.
  • Half a butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks.
  • 1 small potato, cut in four.
  • 1 small onion.
  • 2 spring onions.
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed.
  • 2 x teaspoons chilli flakes.
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds.
  • 1 teaspoon of Tabasco.
  • Seeds from two cardamom pods.
  • Water from a recently boiled kettle.
  • Pumpkin seeds for garnish.
  • Salt and pepper.

Method

  1. Chop the onion and cook until soft in the heated oil. Add the chopped spring onions and crushed garlic.
  2. Add the chilli flakes, coriander seeds and cardamom seeds and cook on a low heat for two or three minutes to blend in the flavours. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the pumpkin, butternut squash and potato. Cook for a few minutes then add enough boiled water to cover the vegetables. Add the Tabasco and bring to the boil.
  4. Simmer for about 25 minutes then liquidise with a hand blender. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds (heat the seeds in dry frying pan for a minute or two, until they start popping).

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