The leaves are slowly, slowly changing colour and there is an ever so slight chill in the air now that Fall has officially started. But if you missed those signs of the new season then every shop seems to have pumpkins piled up on display. There are so many varieties and I’m not actually sure if they are all for eating or just displaying on the front porch. The choices seem endless but I always seem to reach for the butternut pumpkin, known as a butternut squash here in these parts.
The most memorable way I have eaten a butternut pumpkin was one cooked on a kettle BBQ in South Africa – I guess then it was a braai, not a BBQ. The butternut was halved and stuffed with feta, sundried tomatoes, spring onions and herbs then wrapped in foil and cooked. Mmm … I think I’ll be firing up the BBQ to make this over the weekend. I wonder if I could track down some boerewors here in the Bay area.
Pumpkin soup is one of the most requested warming meals by my kids so I decided to try a classic version (I usually make one with a bit of curry powder). I used a basic method for cooking any type of vegetable soup by sauteing onions, carrots, celery and garlic and then adding my chosen vegetables, the pumpkin and a bit of potato, and then stock. You could make other vegetable soups using the same method. A good basic recipe to have up your sleeve to keep the chill at bay as the months roll by.
Fall not only brings pumpkins, but also apples. Last year we went apple picking and loved it so I decided to return to Watsonville with the kids.
We are eating our way through many, many pounds of freshly picked apples. Delicious. Golden Delicious.
butternut pumpkin soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
30g unsalted butter
1 – 2 brown onions, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 -2 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 small chilli (optional)
1 large butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeds scooped out and chopped in 5cm pieces
1 potato, peeled and chopped
800ml – 1 litre of chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onions saute for a few minutes before adding the carrot, celery, garlic and whole chilli. Add a good pinch of salt and turn the heat to low. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add the pumpkin, potato and stock. Bring the soup up to a simmer and cook for 35-40 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender and serve with some warm, crusty bread.