The evolution of a mother/daughter recipe – pumpkin soup
Well it’s been a few days between posts and in those days, I have eaten some really awesome food. Yesterday was my boyfriend’s birthday and so we went out for lunch at the Esplanade Hotel in Queenscliffe. I had a seafood linguine – which was calamari, fish, prawns, scallops and mussels all caught in the local area. It was in a delicious garlic and chilli tomato sauce and tasted amazing! I tend to order stuff like that when I go out because it’s unlikely I would ever buy that kind of variety of seafood in one hit to make such a dish.
Matt had a porterhouse steak, which was about two inches thick! It was perfectly cooked medium-rare and you could taste the beautiful charring on the outside mixed with the tender juiciness of the meat. It was topped with tomato chutney, which was sweet and chunky and had a slightly barbecue flavour. We never go anywhere where I don’t steal food off his plate, just because my curiosity always gets the better of me. I do that with all my family members, so there’s always forks filled with food being passed around the table at restaurants. I think this is a great thing because it allows you to taste things you might not normally try and it may just so happen that you fall in love with an ingredient you didn’t know you liked!
Today I had chicken and chips from this shop I used to work in when I was at uni – called Chook ‘n’ Hook. I know, not anything to really write home about when you claim good food is one of your great passions in life, but their gravy is soooo totally amazing and very addictive – so if you’re in Geelong and somehow find yourself at Belmont Shopping Plaza, go get yourself some good, old-fashioned chips and gravy – it’s a must!
Anyway, back to today’s recipe – which is pumpkin soup.
I watched my mum when I was a little girl make this over and over again, and I have always loved it. However, over the years, as you go through the process of making a recipe your own, I made a few little modifications – and so has mum, I have to say. Looks like we are inspiring each other – which is always a good thing 🙂
So when mum used to make it, she pretty much just used butternut pumpkin, water and salt and pepper. Very, very simple – and that’s often a very good thing. However, now we both use chicken stock rather than just water – it adds so much flavour and really helps to balance the sweetness of the pumpkin. I also use two different kinds of pumpkin now – I was inspired to do this after reading a recipe in a magazine and it was the best move I ever made. Butternut pumpkin is great as it has such a nutty flavour (go figure seeing its name) – but now I add jap pumpkin as well – it is sooo pumpkiny and sweet and really adds so much flavour. I also add some potato now, this was inspired by my mum. She did this in another soup and realised that it would probably add creaminess also to her tried and tested pumpkin soup. The addition paid off big time.
I have never made this soup and measured one ingredient – so when my dad asked me to give this recipe to him so he could print it out and place it next to the pumpkins at the shop he owns with my brother, Anglesea Fruitz – I had to cook it and weigh and measure everything. It was a strange feeling, but I think all the effort will ensure others can recreate it too – and hopefully inspire them to buy some pumpkin – which is in season in Australia right now, in the dead of winter, and therefore at an excellent price. This soup cost me just $8 to make and I will warn you that it makes A LOT of soup – so freeze it in containers and enjoy it throughout winter. I do promise it won’t last that long though as it is something I have discovered is loved by everyone, including the pumpkin haters, and there are quite a few of those!
With so much history you could say it has evolved into a secret family recipe, well a mother and daughter secret recipe anyway. But, and I hope mum doesn’t mind, I’m going to share it with you. Leave a post and let me know what you thought. I’d love to know what additions and subtractions you make to make this one of your own. Enjoy~
Chris and Lisa’s Pumpkin Soup
- 2 tbs of olive oil or butter
- 2 large brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped / or 3 or 4 large leeks
- 1 tsp of grated, fresh ginger
- 1 tsp of ground cummin
- 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 a butternut pumpkin (roughly 700 to 800 grams)
- 1/2 a jap pumpkin (roughly 1.5 kilograms) – skins and seeds removed and chopped into large cubes
- 4 deseree potatoes, peeled and chopped the same size as the pumkin
- Enough chicken stock to fill the pot until the pumpkin is covered (around 1.5 liters)
Heat oil/butter in a large, heavy based saucepan. Add onions/leeks with 2 good pinches of salt and sweat for five minutes.
Add ginger, garlic and cummin and cook for a further two minutes. Keep stiring so the spices don’t burn.
Add pumpkin, potatoes and enough stock to cover everything and bring to the boil.
Cover and simmer gently until pumpkin and potatoes are soft.
Use a stick mixer, if you have one, or transfer soup into a blender – (you’ll have to do this in batches as it’s very dangerous to overfill your blender with hot liquid, as I once found out) and blitz until smooth and creamy.
Taste the soup and see if it needs further seasoning with salt and pepper – I always say, season till it tastes just right. You may want to add a little more stock or some water at this point, if this consistency is thicker than what you would like.
Serve with some nice crusty bread – sourdough is a favourite with this.
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