By dave | November 6, 2016
When winter time comes around there’s nothing quite like a mildly spiced pumpkin or squash soup by the fire. As the weather gets cold the soups keep us warm, but they can be quite high in salt. What I like about spiced soups is that some of the salt can be replaced with herbs and spices.
When it comes to squash and pumpkin, I like to roast then before putting into the soup as it really gives a deeper flavour. If you don’t have time to roast them, instead just slice into smaller pieces and fry in the pan along with the onion and carrot.
When it comes to spices like bay leaves, cardamom and cumin I like to use them whole when the recipe allows. In this recipe we can use them whole but realistically, any big pieces need to be taken out before blending. When it comes to blending, we have a bosch hand held wand blender that we’ve had for some time, it works really well for soups.
When working with soups, the longer you can leave them on the stove the better, especially when using whole spices such as bay leaves. You’ll still get most of the nutritional benefits as we are keeping all the water they coook in. If you are unused to using spices, air on the cautious side and after blending try it, and add a little more to taste.
For stock, there are many options, you can either make your own stock or use more or less any stock. For this recipe I normally use a well known powered organic vegetarian stock.
- Cocanut oil for frying and roasting
- 1 large squash
- 1 medium or 2 small sweet potatoes
- 3 small carrots or 2 medium
- 2 stalks of celery (leafier the better)
- 1.5 litres of stock
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 cardamom seeds
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp of ground coriander
- 1 tsp of ground cumin (alter to taste)
- 1 tsp of curry powder (alter to taste)
- 1⁄2 tsp of mixed spice or all spice
- Pinch of cayenne pepper or paprika.
- 1⁄2 tsp chilli powder or fresh halepeno peppers.
- Fresh corriander and sour cream or yogurt to serve
First, we will roast the sweet potato and squash. Slice the squash into four quarters and take out the seeds. Then peel and quarter the sweet potato too. Coat all the slices in the oil, cover with foil and roast in a pre heated oven (180°C fan, 200°C conventional), for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the squash is soft enough to break up with a spoon.
While the sweet potato and squash are roasting, peel the onion and garlic, give the carrots a good wash. Generally, I dont really peel carrots as the nutrients are near the surface. Roughly chop the onion, celery and carrots. They are going to be blended, see the photo over to the left. Lastly, squash the garlic and then chop as fine as you can. If you wanted a bit of extra kick, you could add a finely sliced halepeno pepper.
Heat the pan to a medium heat and put in the cumin and cardamom and let them heat through. Now and add enough oil to fry the vegetables (I normally use about 1 heaped tsp cocanut oil). Fry until the onions become slightly transparent. This will realistically be a few minutes.
Add about 1.5 litres of stock to the pan and mix the contents well, including making sure you get anything off the bottom of the pan. At this point the squash and sweet potato should be out of the oven, break up the sweet potato and add to the pan. Now do the same for the squash (I usually use a spoon to scoop out as much as possible, leaving mainly skin behind). Ensure the veg is covered by the stock, if need be add a little liquid to ensure the veg is fully covered.
Stir occasionally and cook for at least 30 minutes before blending. During blending if the soup is looking a bit thick, add a little more boiling water to the mix until your preferred consistency is achieved. Don’t forget that if you add a lot more water at this point, you may need to add a little more seasoning or stock as well. At this point you can sample the soup and add a little more seasoning to taste if required.
That’s it! Serve with some fresh crusty bread and sprinkle some fresh chopped corriander on the top if available.