This is the classic autumn soup (sorry, yes, it's a soup again), using what must be one of the tastiest pumpkins there is. Punch Phoron, a mild but very harmonious Indian spice mix, as well as the dry sherry complement its flavour very elegantly.
What you need
- 1 butternut pumpkin, de-pipped and cubed
- 3 tblsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 3+ cloves of garlic, pressed
- 1 tblsp+ punch phoron (Indian spice mix consisting of fennel, fennugreek, cumin, onion and mustard seed)
- 100 ml dry sherry
- 1 tblsp vegetable stock powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 250 ml fresh cream (leave out if you want a vegan dish)
What you do
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan, add the onions, the garlic and the punch phoron. Stir until the onions are golden, beginning to brown.
- Add the butternut pumpkin cubes and stir to coat evenly, then stir in the vegetable stock powder (or cube).
- Pour in the sherry and reduce while stirring. Then cover with water and allow to boil for about 15 min (until the pumpkin is soft enough to squash to a pulp if pressed against the side of the pan.
- Use a liquidiser or a food processor to make the mixture into a smooth soup. If it is too thick, add water to achieve the thickness you like.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Before serving, add the cream, either to the pan with the soup or into the individual plates. In any case, make some nice whorls with the richly yellow soup and the white cream…
If you find you have more people at the table than expected, you may want to add a potato or two just after the coating of the pumpkin. Potatoes add volume but not necessarily enhance the flavour of the butternut pumpkin.
This too is a lovely supper dish, served with fresh bread and cheese and a big green salad to start with. We had a great early autumn dinner in the garden with our friends, perhaps one of the last dinners al fresco this year…
You can use the five seeds either as a powder or as seeds. If you do the latter, dry-roast them until their delicious smell hits your nostrils. Of course you can then grind them yourself in a mortar or coffee grinder that you only use for spices (a bit of a luxury but well worth it as freshly ground spice masalas are so much more flavoursome than the ground stuff you buy). You can also skip the grinding but you will end up with mustard and onion seeds in the soup as they are so tiny they will not be liquidised. This may or may not look nice, depending on your point of view, but the taste is not actually affected.