I wrote about soup way back in 2008 and called it an Intrinsically Good Thing, which I still think is so true. Different cultures around the world have been making and eating soup for millennia. Some of our favourite dishes these days are what the peasants would cook to make do – using every part of the animal (like the bones for stock) and the seasonal vegetables available. Soup is a great way to make limited ingredients stretch further. Most importantly, it’s a comfort and a remedy for the things that ail you. From the bright fresh flavours in a Vietnamese pho to a hearty bowl of Italian minestrone, soup is a Good Thing.
I was struck down by a bad cold a few weeks ago when the autumn weather started to turn chilly, and my lovely housemate K made me a chicken soup that was heavy on the turmeric and ginger. Both are super spices – turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and ginger is fantastic for your immune system. Since then I’ve been thinking that adding them to a pumpkin soup would not only be good for you, but also delicious. Pumpkin is in season – cheap and delicious right now, so the timing was perfect.
Pumpkin Turmeric Soup
- 2kg butternut or other sweet pumpkin
- 2 thumb size pieces of ginger
- 6-8 pieces turmeric
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 2L chicken or vegetable stock (preferably homemade or good quality store-bought)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard (optional)
- Fennel seeds, sumac and coriander or parsley to garnish
Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Chop the pumpkin into 1 inch thick slices, discard the seeds and peel the skin with a potato peeler. Also peel ginger and turmeric and roughly chop. Arrange in a baking dish, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour, or until pumpkin is cooked through. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
In a food processor, place about a third of the roast pumpkin with ½ cup of stock and pulse until smooth. Place the puree into a large pot and repeat twice with the rest of the pumpkin. Add the rest of the stock, honey, cumin and the mustard (if using) to the pot, and bring to the boil slowly on low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls or mugs garnished with fennel, sumac and parsley with fresh crusty bread.