Pumpkin Soup

Especially fine if finished in the pumpkin shell.


  • 1 medium pumpkin (probably about 8lbs, 4 kg)
  • 2 onions, or 1 onion and 2 leeks
  • Spices – try a mix of
    • 1 tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp ground coriander, and ½ tsp ground cumin
    • or 1 inch cinnamon stick, and a goodly pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 pints/900ml chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water


  • If you are going to finish the soup in the pumpkin, start by cutting off a lid; make a notch if you can. Remove the seeds, strings, and assorted gloop. With a good strong spoon, scoop out a lot of the flesh – but make sure the remaining shell is about 2cm, or nearly 1 inch, thick.
    If you are just making the soup, cut the pumpkin open, remove the gloop, cut into slices, and cut out the flesh.
  • Peel and chop the onions/leeks; fry gently in a knob of butter until soft and transparent but not brown. Roughly chop the pumpkin flesh, and add with your chosen spices, salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Continue cooking gently for maybe 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the pumpkin sticking.
  • Pour in the stock (or water), bring to the boil, then simmer gently until the vegetables are well-cooked and soft – about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes. Blitz until very smooth, in a food processor or with a hand held liquidiser. Adjust the seasoning.
  • Either
    • return to the pan, reheat gently and serve (with a swirl of yoghurt in each bowl, and a sprinkling of fresh coriander or parsley).
    • or sprinkle the inside of the reserved pumpkin shell with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place on a baking dish, and pour in the soup. Replace the lid – the notch helps! – and put in an oven, preheated to 170C/350F/Gas Mark 3.
      Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the shell is cooked through … but not so cooked that it collapses.
      Carefully bring the pumpkin to table to serve; scrape some of the flesh from the shell into each bowl. Good with hearty bread rolls.

This soup also works well with smoked fish.

  • Forget the spices.
  • Add a bay leaf and maybe some herbs with the water or stock. Remove the bay leaf before you blitz the soup in the processor. Add the fish to the pureed soup, and cook just long enough for it to flake.

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