It’s the peak of summer here but we’ve already harvested our first butternut from the garden. Being a city girl, I didn’t believe Juls when he said we only needed to plant one vine. Who new they got so big. We haven’t had the greatest of crops. Lots of bright yellow flowers, followed by miniature fruit that then rot and drop of the vine. Too much water, not enough? More fertiliser perhaps? I’ll have to figure it out for next year. For now I’m enjoying the little we have produced.
Soup isn’t the obvious choice for a garden fresh butternut in the midst of a hot and humid summer. Roast pumpkin salad maybe? That still involves turning on the oven. It’s hot enough. Last week we had a few cooler evenings and well… I had a craving for crusty buttered bread dipped in soup.
Be choosy! Go for the heavy, thick skinned, dull looking pumpkin somewhere near the bottom of the pile. It’ll have more flavour. Our pumpkin had quite a thin skin, a high water content and wasn’t the deepest of yellows so it didn’t start the taste buds dancing. On its own anyway… hence the herbs & spices.
The healthy bits… Their deep orange colour make pumpkins a great source of carotenes. They also contain good sources of B1, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, potassium and dietary fibre. Studies show that pumpkins, and other colourful veggies rich in carotenes, protect against cancer and heart disease.*
I’ve always found the perception of pumpkins interesting. When I lived in the north of England, I met locals who thought of pumpkins only as pig food. Out of the States we see all sorts of sweet recipes, the most famous being pumpkin pie. That’s rarely done here. Tends to be soups, quiches, roasts, curries, pastas. No matter your view, you can’t deny its versatility.
Herb & Spice Butternut Soup
Serves 4-6 as a main
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion – diced
2 garlic cloves – sliced
1 large butternut pumpkin – chopped into 2 inch chunks
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
4 sage leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
water to cover and thin as desired
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the onions and the garlic for 2-3 mins
2. Add the remaining ingredients stirring the pumpkin until covered in spices3. Add water to cover the pumpkin, bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes
4. Blend until smooth and add hot water to thin as desired
5. Serve with crusty bread and if you’re feeling it a dollop of sour cream
1. Add onion and garlic to bowl, dice 3 secs/speed 7. Scrap down sides of bowl
2. Add 15 gms of coconut oil, saute 5 mins/varoma/speed 1
3. Add herbs & spices and half the chopped spices, chop 3 secs/speed 7, add remaining pumpkin chop 3 secs/speed 7
4. Add water to cover pumpkin by an inch. Cook 30 mins/varoma/speed 1
5. Blend for 1 minute, slowly increasing speed from 1 to 9. Then with hot water as desired.