October 7, 2008

Pumpkin Soup

The weather is turning here in Chicago and Fall is upon us. I for one am happy as a clam- I love pulling on a sweater (jumper) and cooking to keep warm. On Saturday I stayed in the kitchen all morning pottering away and not even breaking into a sweat (we always seem to live in apartments with hot little kitchens). The pumpkins and winter squash are out and it is time to get the soups on the stove and stews in the oven. The other night Nic made a delicious pumpkin and potato curry, however I am banned from blogging his meals due to the fact I don't cook them!

Pumpkin soup would have to be one of my all time favorites. You can make it as simple as possible with onions, garlic, stock and pumpkin (butternut, acorn, Jap, Queensland blue etc), blend it all up and you have a delightful, smooth and satisfying meal or you can jazz it up a bit with cilantro (coriander) and coconut milk, curry powder or as I did on Saturday- lime leaves, turmeric and coriander seeds.
At first I was going to make a basic thick soup but once I melted the butter, threw in the onion and the sweet smell hit my nose I was drawn to my herb and spice draw and the next thing I knew it was a wonderful yellow color and the coriander seeds were permeating the air. The lime leaves were an after thought but assumed they would work seeing as they work so well in curries and sauces.
When the boys wonder into the kitchen asking what the yummy smell is, I know I have made the right choice. Both boys have been bought up on pumpkin soup. By the time Alex was onto solids I got a bit lazy with the puree this and puree that- he was eating the soups either watered down with a bit of milk or natural yogurt (always success in his case). The yogurt hides the curry flavor quite well!
To make a good soup my mum taught me to have more veggies than liquid- that way you could increase volume when necessary and not skimp on flavor. When I first started cooking I was terrible at making soup and I use to sweat bullets when the head chef asked me to make the soup of the day. I always managed to make it smell delicious but the end result was always a let down- until that is mum came to my rescue. Now when ever I make any soup I always fill the pot to barely cover the veggies. Even if I don't puree the soup I find this method works really well. 
If you do try the lime leaves, just pull them out before you puree the soup. Pumpkin soup also tastes yummy if you serve it up into bowls, squeeze half a lemon on top, sprinkle with chili flakes and finish with a dollop of natural yogurt. Who would think the yellow gourd would give you so much pleasure....don't even get me started on pumpkin pie!

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