Saturday, September 10, 2011
Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup
If you're looking for a fragrant spin on a classic dish with a tight budget, then you're looking for this recipe. The soup has a smooth and creamy texture - with no cream required - and freezes beautifully for lunches throughout the week.
The small can of light coconut cream I have used can be omitted if you want to keep it simple, but do try it the first time as even a small amount of coconut cream gives the soup a spicy fragrance that elevates this recipe well beyond the standard pumpkin soup. If you want to enhance the Thai flavours further, add a tablespoon of red curry paste when you soften the onions at the beginning of the recipe.
The sweetcorn was a moment of genius - I added it because corn was ridiculously cheap at the market on the weekend, and I couldn't resist a great deal. The corn really enhances the butternut pumpkin's sweetness while adding a thicker texture to the soup that makes it very filling. I used the technique (adding the denuded corn cobs to the stock) from a sweetcorn shot soup recipe that is a standard for me when corn is in season. I promise to share the recipe for that one with you soon.
The quantity produced will give four adults a very hearty serving (team with crusty bread for a wholesome Sunday night meal) or, in the case of a singleton such as myself, one hearty dinner and about five smaller lunch portions. Just what a gal saving for a holiday needs in her repertoire!
Pumpkin and Sweeetcorn Soup
- 2 small or 1 large red onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 kilogram butternut pumpkin, diced
- 1 cup milk
- 270 ml (small) can light coconut cream (optional)
- 2 corn cobs, kernels removed while raw and cobs reserved for the stock
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Remove the kernels from the corn cobs by holding the cob vertical on a chopping board and using a knife to slice downwards. Keep the denuded cobs for the stock. Now dice your pumpkin into inch thick pieces.
Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a stockpot on a medium-high heat. Soften the onion and garlic in the oil for around 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin and corn kernels, and stir over a medium-high heat for around 4 minutes.
Sprinkle a tablespoon of water over the pumpkins, add pinch of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper, then put the lid on the stockpot and leave for ten minutes to sweat. Check it every so often to ensure it hasn't gone dry, but other than that don't fuss. This will smell amazing every time you take the lid off.
Pour the stock, milk and coconut cream over the top of the pumpkin and corn. Submerge the cobs in the liquid. Stir to mix then bring to the simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover for 30 minutes.
After allowing the soup to cool a little, use a stick blender to make the pumpkin soup silky smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, blending as you go to make sure the seasoning is evenly distributed. Serve in large bowls with chopped coriander sprinkled on top or a dollop of sour cream.
If you want to increase the Thai flavours, you should add 1 tablespoon of yellow curry paste to the onions when you soften them with the garlic at the very start of the recipe.