The cold makes me want to sit in the quilt all day long. I want to sip daintly on some fruit infusion and then at bed time have a steaming mug of hot chocolate with a spot of Cointreau in it. If only it were that simple.
But winter also means that some of the most gorgeous produce has made it's way into the city. Beautiful shiny apples, gorgeously green and brilliant tasting spinach and lovely sweet pumpkin the size of a football. It's a brilliant time to go nuts with the produce.
Pumpkin soup reminds me of home. Home as in Chennai. Every time my grandmother would spot a pumpkin languishing in the fridge, she'd convert half into soup and the other half a sweet and spicy vegetable dish with fennel. I'd a whole post on the beauty of pumpkin about a year ago here.
We make many kinds of pumpkin soup. Sometimes celery is a star, sometimes nutmeg. My aunt's friend Gloria in Tasmania makes a mean Pumpkin and Peanut Butter soup. I have to post that recipe soon too.
This soup, is slightly different from her version. Because the pumpkin here has a lot more depth, I've added an apple to meld with the flavours. The peanut butter adds a lovely nutty texture to the soup. The soup is a lot thicker than you anticipate, so it's a good idea to add a bit of stock to thin it down. And sweeter too, so do add generous dashes of chilli to bring it to your liking.
The soup freezes well and is great on a cold winter's evening, when you need something filling and are just too lazy to cook yourself a meal. Add a few crackers or breadsticks, you can just about call it a night.
Roasted Pumpkin Apple and Peanut Butter Soup
400 grams pumpkin
1 red chilli
1 clove garlic
1 bullion cube (vegetable or chicken)
3 tblsp Olive oil
1 cup Milk
2 cups Water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chilli flakes to serve
Lemon juice to taste
1/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky really your choice)
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degree centigrade. Cut the pumpkin into arcs and drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes of until done. Chop roughly when cool.
2. Let the pumpkin rest as you go about the rest of the soup. Chop the onion, apple, garlic and chilli.
3. In a tablespoon of olive oil saute the vegeables until the onions start to sweat. Add the pumpkin to it along with a cup of water and the buillon cube. Boil till the vegetables break down about 10 minutes. Cool
4. Using a hand blender or a juicer, blend the soup.
5. When ready to serve, add the peanut butter, milk and additional cup of water and bring to boil. Check for seasoning. Add a spot of lemon juice. Drizzle with olive oil and chilli flakes. Serve hot.