As the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, our thoughts turn to warming stews and soups. Our phenomenally popular pumpkin soup (pictured above) makes the most of this seasonal vegetable, and is a great way to use up any leftover flesh from carving your jack o’lanterns. Plus, pumpkin has some surprising health benefits too. From tasty toppings to cheesy toast, the Good Food cookery team offer their 10 tips to take our classic pumpkin soup recipe to the next level.
1. Add pesto
Take a hint from professional chefs and give your meal an artistic finish by drizzling garlic oil in circles over your soup, or dotting with freshly made classic pesto just before serving.
2. Feel blue…
Add a punch of piquant flavour by crumbling over some blue cheese. Its creamy texture is perfect for melting into a steaming bowl of soup.
3. … or just plain cheesy
If you love cheese, but aren’t fond of the blue variety, melt a slice of a milder type over some toast. Float smaller slices on the top as an alternative to croutons, or cut larger slices into fingers to dip, like soldiers.
4. Make some melba
The crispiness of melba toast makes a great texture contrast with smooth, blended soup. Make your own by cutting very thin slices of your favourite bread and toasting until crisp and golden. Dip into the soup like bread, or break into shards to sprinkle on the top, like rough croutons.
5. Stick to veggies…
Extra roasted pumpkin or a mix of root vegetables piled on top look great and make this dish more substantial. Try our pepper & honey-roasted roots to bulk out your meal.
6. …or make it meaty
For true carnivores, a handful of pan fried diced pancetta or black pudding makes the perfect, full-flavoured garnish. Finish off with a few shredded sage leaves to add colour, and compliment the salty, rich taste of the meat.
7. Get nutty
Toast a mixture of nuts and seeds in a dry pan until starting to caramelise at the edges then sprinkle over the top of your soup. Hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or linseeds all work well. Try our spicy seed mix recipe to add a touch of heat and a crunchy texture.
8. Zest is best
Top with a quick, homemade gremolata. Take the zest of a lemon and add finely chopped raw garlic and flat leaf parsley for a tangy topping, then sprinkle over the soup just before serving.
9. Spice it up
A bowl of piping hot soup makes ideal comfort food, but to make this dish even more warming you can easily add a spicy kick. Add one chopped red chilli and a crushed clove of garlic to the pan when you add the pumpkin. For extra heat, toss some dried chilli flakes in with the croutons too.
10. Finish with a last minute flourish
For an improvised yet attractive garnish, drizzle over some crème fraîche or natural yogurt and pop a few shop-bought root vegetable crisps on top.
Have you tried any of our ideas? Do you have some tips of your own? We’d love to hear from you below…