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Friday, 2 November 2018

Pumpkin Challenge Day 3 - Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup

It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to come up with Pumpkin Soup as a way to use up leftover pumpkin lanterns and it is one that most recipe magazines suggest after Halloween. But there is a good reason for this - pumpkins make an excellent soup, particularly when paired with butternut squash.

Some pumpkins that you can buy for making into lanterns are grown principally with lantern carving in mind. That is to say, they are varieties that grow to a good size and have skin and flesh that is suitable for easy carving. You can't argue with that. Some of the pumpkins I grow have skin so tough that I literally have to take a hacksaw to them and then kind of prise the flesh off the skin. It is such an unpleasant job that it puts me off tacking them - although their bulletproof skin does mean they keep really well, fortunately. However, sometimes lantern pumpkins can be a bit naff for eating, with spongy, watery fresh that smells a lot like melon or cucumber. If you have one of these then pairing it with the denser and more flavoursome flesh of a butternut squash in the soup can really help rescue it.

Having been brought up on Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup, it took a long time for me to imagine ever eating any other kind of soup but this one is an all round winner in our house and even my fussy eating daughter requests that I make this every year. If you can find Japanese curry powder in the shops then a pinch of that is lovely, otherwise a little medium Indian curry powder works well too.

This is another occasion when I would use my Instant Pot but it is easy to make on the hob too.

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup (makes 6 portions)

1 lb cubed pumpkin flesh
1 lb cubed butternut squash flesh
2 garlic cloves, chopped
10 fl oz vegetable stock
5 fl oz sieved tomatoes (or passata) or 2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp curry powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Hob Method

Put some oil in the bottom of a large saucepan and gently saute the cubed vegetables for about 5 minutes then add  the garlic and fry for another minute. Pour in the stock and tomatoes and add the curry powder. Put a lid on the pan and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Blend until smooth, taste and season as necessary. Eat hot or cool and freeze in portions.

Instant Pot Method

Put some oil into the Instant Pot inner pan and select Saute. Fry the vegetables for a few minutes then pour over the stock. Switch off then stir to deglaze the pan. Put on the lid, close the valve and set for soup for 15 minutes. Allow Natural Pressure Release. Add the tomato puree and curry powder and stir. Season to taste then blend with a stick blender.

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