Patch-ant For PumpkinPosted: July 28, 2010
As previously mentioned, I go vegetarian twice a month but when I was back home, I actually flaked out on that because I do a solid 24 hours of vegetarianism whereas my mum only does a half-day and it was hard to negotiate family dinners when I’m vegetarian.
So when I got back to Melbourne, I had to replace those vegetarian days. It’s not an arduous task at all and vegetarian cooking is yummy.
I don’t know if anyone does this but I sit around with a pile of old food magazines and cookbooks the night before I go marketing and write down my menu for the week, and the groceries I’ll need. It eliminates wastage and over-buying (although this happens sometimes!). The leftovers means I never have to buy lunch during the week. I’ll make a post on my process in the future; it’s rather comical to see me buried under cookbooks and it looks like I’m about to perform some massive catering job but it’s just my weekly grocery list!
I pulled this recipe from the July 2008 issue of Delicious, and it’s a recipe by Jamie Oliver. But as I can’t help myself, I augmented this recipe a little.
My friend Kristine once asked why people don’t just sell pumpkins readily peeled and I have to concur. It’s one of my favourite vegetables (fruit?) but I don’t buy it often because I hate the peeling. It’s a terrifying task and Jamie Oliver recommends using a potato peeler but either he has a better potato peeler (although I have a fantastic one from OXO Good Grips) or his pumpkin’s skin must be considerably softer. Either way, I just took a Global to it and sliced it off thinly without injuring myself so hurrah!
Roasted Pumpkin and Chickpea Soup
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Chunky Butternut Pumpkin & Chickpea Soup from Delicious magazine July 2008
Half a butternut pumpkin, peeled, diced, seeds rinsed and reserved
1/2 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
2 celery stalks, trimmed, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
A few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped and stalks finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1L vegetable stock
1 can of 400g chickpeas, drained
2 tsp of dried chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp each of fennel seeds, sesame seeds and poppyseeds
25g almond flakes
Zest of 1 lemon, juice saved for when serving
A few sprigs of fresh mint, leaves chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 200˚C. Put the pumpkin, cumin and dried chilli on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil, mix together and roast for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and pour in a splash of olive oil. Add the celery, garlic, parsley stalks and two-thirds of the onion. Cook gently with a lid on until softened.
3. Add in the roasted pumpkin and sweat for a few minutes, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, turn downy he heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Add the chickpeas and simmer for 15 minutes more.
5. Meanwhile, toast the reserved pumpkin seeds with the fennel seeds, sesame, poppyseeds and almonds in the oven on a baking tray for 3-4 minutes or until nicely coloured all over. Issue: pumpkin seeds take longer to cook so I might go and pop those in a few minutes beforehand, then add the rest in after.
6. Season soup with sea salt (I used Fleur de Sel, which actually tastes better) and freshly ground black pepper. If you’re using the dried chilli flakes, add them now (quantity subjective to personal preference).
7. Using a stick blender, whiz for a few seconds so it thickens, but there are still some chunky bits. This, I did not do as I don’t have a stick blender (I know right? WHAT?) so I just put it in the food processor that’s why mine is a more puree-like consistency but it still tastes the same!
8. Keep warm while you mix together the zest, parsley and mint leaves. Chop the remeaning onion finely, then mix it into the zesty herb mixture.
9. Serve soup in a bowl, sprinkle with toasted nuts and seeds, followed by the zesty herb mixture. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
The lemon juice is something I highly recommend. I liked the soup just fine without it but if you watch Top Chef and you hear the judges always saying things like, “It could use a little acid” and you’re thinking Hm? Well, it’s true. Sometimes I taste things and I know they taste great but there’s that missing something that isn’t salty or sweet and I know that it’s acid now. So trust me on this when I say, that lemon juice will make this soup a whole lot better.
Serve with a side of garlic bread or plain sourdough if you’re so inclined. I like making my own garlic butter (butter, whole garlic cloves, few pinches of salt and a teeny tiny bit of sugar – put in food processor and blitz. Try it! You’re never going to buy frozen garlic bread anymore) and it’s always worth it.
And I confess: I bought pre-packaged Campbell’s “Real Stock” vegetable stock for this soup. I would’ve made my own but I didn’t have the time.
I’m vegetarian today and it’s chickpea ragu on the menu! Although I am planning a massive undertaking soon. Honestly, it required a LIST and timelines because it has so many components. I have a headache thinking about it tbh but it’s going to be fun!