Pumpkins are SO healthy - rich in vitamin A and C, fiber, and vital flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as leutin, xanthin, and carotenes. WIth an abundance of vitamin E, it is also great for your complexion. Did I mention it's also low in calories? 100g of pumpkin flesh contains less than 26 calores . It's also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Sadly, it's also one of the most overlooked veggies ever. Local supermarkets however have made pumpkins readily accessible for everyone now, selling them either peeled, in chunks, or as slabs, where all you have to do is buy a tray and cook its contents, rather than carry the entire thing and seed, peel, and core it yourself.
For me, soup is the easiest way to go with pumpkins. I've always had a thing for sweet and savory combined, and this soup recipe brings out the best of the pumpkin's natural sweetness, and the spicy savory goodness of the additional ingredients. It doesnt take long to make, and is perfect for winter nights - or whenever!
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 3/4 to a 1 kilo pumpkin cut in slabs or chunks (butternut squash works just as well) (plus a teaspoon each of brown sugar, salt and olive oil)
• 1 large yellow onion, chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional)
• pinch of ground cloves (optional)
• pinch ground pepper
• 3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
• 1/4 cup full-cream or cooconut milk (heavy cooking cream also works)
• Preheat oven to 300.C
• On a foil covered tray, arrange your pumpkin. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with brown sugar and salt.
• Cover with an additional layer of foil, and set in the oven to roast for 30 minutes. You should be able to easily pierce the pumpkin with a fork when it's done
• In the mean time, place butter, onion, and garlic in a heavy-bottomed pot, and stir over medium heat until onion becomes transluscent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
• Add salt, cinnamon, nutmet, pepper (and paprika and cloves if you're using those), and stir in. Follow with the roasted pumpkin flesh, breaking it up with your spoon as you stir it in with the onions and spices.
• Pour in the 3 cups of broth or water, and bring to boil. Leave to cook on low heat for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to seep together.
• With a hand-blender, blitz the soup while it's in the pot to bring it to a creamy consistency. You can taste it at this point, to adjust the seasonings if need-be.
• Stir in mample syrup, followed by milk (or cream).
• Ladel soup in bowls and serve.