The Prince of Soups
This time of year the grocers are full of gorgeous produce with their amazing colours and earthy smells. Usually I’m struggling as to which recipe I should go with or maybe I mix a couple of ideas from a few that the vegetables or fruit bring to mind. The colours of the vegetables are quite intense along with their flavours so perfect for planning a comforting and nourishing meal.
Soup is always a favourite starter or maybe a light lunch for me during late autumn or through the winter months. That isn’t to say I don’t have some favourite lighter summer soups that I absolutely love though.
I made a Crown Prince Pumpkin and Chestnut Soup this weekend. The texture of velvet with an underlying nutty taste that the chestnuts brought to it. Although a light soup it’s filling so small bowls work well here, perhaps with a winter salad or with some grained bread.
If I am making a soup I always double up and freeze for later. Soup can be a labour of love so having it on hand for when you’re feeling lazy or too busy to nourish yourself is a real treat. Don’t get hung up on the Crown Prince Pumpkin, it’s worth seeking out for it’s sweet flavour but other pumpkins will do.
1 kg (prepared weight) Crown Prince Pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced.
50g unsalted butter
2 cinnamon sticks (if you don’t have then 1tsp of ground cinnamon)
200 ml dry white wine
2 litres vegetable stock (may need extra if your soup is too thick)
100g roasted chestnuts (peeled weight)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Score your chestnuts with a paring knife in a cross
Place in a roasting tin and roast for 25-30 minutes at 180c or until tender.
Leave to cool under a tea towel and then shell the chestnuts.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and once it’s bubbling add the diced pumpkin flesh, cinnamon stick (or ground cinnamon if using) and season. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent the pumpkin from catching.
Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium, add the wine, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil, cover the pan again with the lid and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pumpkin begins to soften. Add half of the chestnuts, simmer for a further 10 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat discarding the cinnamon stick if using.
I cool my soup before transferring to a blender and purée until very smooth. I use a processor for this and blend the soup in batches twice through for the smooth texture I am looking for. Return the soup back to the pan and gently reheat until hot. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and while the soup is reheating chop the remaining chestnuts.
Serve the hot soup in bowls, garnish with the chopped chestnuts. Serve with plenty of fresh crusty bread along with a salad if you are preparing the soup for lunch.
The original soup recipe is from The British Larder - A cookbook For All Seasons.