Pumpkin Soup with Herb Oil and Crisped Pumpkin Seeds is a delicious starter for any dinner party.

Ingredients

This is a very simple recipe but I think it shows off the lovely flavour and silky consistency of the pumpkin rather perfectly. The soup can be garnished with many different ingredients ranging from a simple swirl of cream or a drizzle of olive oil to a wide range of complimentary herbs such as thyme, rosemary or marjoram.

Be careful when peeling the pumpkin as the skin can be tough and cause your knife to slip, so make sure your knife is always pointing away from you when you are preparing the vegetable.  
 
Serves 6-8

  • 450g pumpkin, weighed after peeling, and cut into small dice, c 2cm 
  • 225g onions, peeled and sliced 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed 
  • 50g butter or 4 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 1.2 liters chicken stock 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 225ml creamy milk (optional) 

Garnish 

  • 4 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds toasted on a dry pan until crisp 
  • Herb oil 

Herb Oil 
This oil is also delicious on simple grilled lamb, beef, pork or fish and will keep in the fridge for up to a week. 

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 4 tablespoons of chopped herbs; parsley, chives, marjoram, sage or rosemary. 
  • (Use just one of the herbs or a combination of what is available to you.) 
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed 
  • Zest of ¼ of a lemon 
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped 

Method

  1. Melt the butter or heat the oil in a saucepan. Allow the butter to foam or the oil to get quite hot. Add the pumpkin, onions and garlic.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and coat the vegetables in the fat. Cover with a butter wrapper or greaseproof paper lid and the lid of the saucepan.
  3. Sweat the vegetables on a very low heat. After 15 minutes the vegetables should be starting to collapse at the edges.
  4. Now add the stock. Replace the lid and simmer for approx 20 minutes or until the vegetables are completely soft.
  5. Puree the soup in a liquidizer or with a hand held blender. Taste and correct seasoning and if the consistency is a little thick, thin out with some creamy milk or more stock.
  6. Serve in hot bowls with a drizzle of herb oil and a scattering of toasted pumpkin seeds on each serving. 

Herb Oil 

  1. Mix the oil, chopped herbs, lemon zest, chilli and garlic and season with sea salt and black pepper.