Pumpkin soup lands on our menu most winters as we look for ways to use up the overabundant harvest from the previous autumn. In our search for the perfect pumpkin soup, we’ve tried all sorts of things, including butter, chicken stock, olive oil, bacon, potatoes and more (not at the same time!), but we eventually settled on a combination of sweet potato and butternut pumpkin.
It’s surprisingly hearty: it even fills up teenage boys.
Now, I know you’re going to look at this recipe and ask Where’s the butter? or Where’s the cream? You don’t need either one. The sweet potato adds the creamy smoothness and richness we think we want from butter. We use a bright orange variety, which makes the soup look even more pumpkinish than you would ever expect from a butternut.
And we always serve this soup in our special bowls, made by my mum about 25 or 30 years ago. If you think they look like a certain type of pumpkin, you’d be right!
Pumpkin and sweet potato soup
- 500 grams of butternut pumpkin
- 500 grams of sweet potato
- 1 minced onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
- 3 or 4 cloves
- yoghurt or cashew paste (see notes)
- Peel and chop the pumpkin and sweet potato. Simmer them in a lot of water in a large pot until they are soft enough to mash.
- Mash the veggies. You might need to add some water because the sweet potato seems to have a special ability to suck up any spare liquid when you mash it.
- Mince the onion and garlic. This means to chop it so finely it looks pulverised. You can pop it in a mini blender, or use a knife, or a grater (and shed a lot of tears). If you use fresh ginger, it’s worth mincing it too. I sometimes use ground ginger in this dish for its more subtle flavour.
- Stir the onion/ginger/garlic and the spices into the mashed veggies and simmer for another 15 to 30 minutes or so. Top up the liquid if you need to.
- You can blend the soup at this stage, if you think you need to; we don’t usually bother.
- Serve with a dollop of yoghurt or cashew paste.
Cashew paste is a good alternative to yoghurt. To make it, soak the cashews in some hot water for a few hours (pour the water on and go and do something else for a while), then pour the cashews into a blender. Whiz it, and add as much of the soaking water as you need to get the consistency you want.