Pumpkins and a fabulous harvest

pumpkin soupChopped pumpkin

We had a veritable bounty of wonderful veg from the garden and greenhouse this year. This was the first year we had put so much effort into growing our own food; last year we managed a few courgettes in grow bags and some runner beans. This year we have had fabulous tomatoes (thanks to a bargain greenhouse purchased on Ebay and free plants from a friend), peppers, celeriac, onions, carrots, French and runner beans, peas, fennel, rhubarb, various courgettes and squashes, beetroot, leeks, a few currants and berries and best of all, some lovely big pumpkins. Now that Halloween is out of the way, it is time to make some more soup for the freezer. Pumpkins make the most glorious, smooth and delicious soup. Here is the recipe I use:

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

One medium pumpkin

2 pints of chicken or vegetable stock

3 large onions

2 sticks of celery

2 tsp of cumin

4 cloves of garlic

Vegetable oil

Plenty of salt and pepper

The first thing you need to do is roast your pumpkin. Preheat your oven to gas mark 6, 200C. Peel your pumpkin and cut into large chunks – about 2 inch squares should do. Put into a bowl and mix in a couple of tablespoons of the oil. Roast in the hot oven until the pumpkin begins to soften – about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion and garlic and brown for 5 minutes in a small amount of oil, then add the cumin and cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes. Add the roasted pumpkin and the stock, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, seasoning to taste, then puree and cool.

I save margarine, ice cream and large yogurt pots for my mega soup making sessions. I ladle single, double or larger portions, depending on the size of my container, label and freeze. Home-made soup is so much nicer than tinned, and a lot cheaper when you are using home grown veg as well as being a great way of using up a glut.