This is the perfect soup to enjoy during the cooler months, especially during pumpkin season and the lead up to Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.
This recipe is for a basic pumpkin soup but jazzed up with some typical Austrian toppings using a small drizzle of pumpkin seed oil, toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh spring onion greens. The pumpkin is roasted to further enhance its sweetness and add some toasted notes to the soup.
What type of pumpkin is typically used?
Butternut pumpkin or squash is the first choice of pumpkin used to create a sweet, nutty flavour plus gives a rich orange colour to the soup.
Using any other type of pumpkin will alter the flavour and the overall texture of the soup. If butternut is not available in your country, experiment with other types of pumpkins by adjusting the stock levels and seasonings to your liking to create a smooth and tasty puree consistency.
What is pumpkin seed oil?
Pumpkin seed oil, Kürbiskernöl, is an Austrian homemade oil using the surplus amount of pumpkin grown in the country, especially in the Styria region. The oil is slowly making its way to other countries, so if you happen to come across it, try it with pumpkin soup or simply drizzled on salads or cooked vegetables. It has a roasted nutty and unique flavour, plus is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is not suitable to use as a frying or roasting oil. Its delicacy is mainly to be enjoyed as a condiment at the table.
What other seasonings can be used in pumpkin soup?
There are so many variations on how to season pumpkin soup, since it is so versatile and loved by so many. As this recipe is for a basic pumpkin soup, I often add the following seasonings and garnishes to change it every now and then:
- Add 2 teaspoons of ground cumin or curry powder when frying the spring onions for an Indian curry pumpkin soup. Add some fresh curry leaves, if available. Garnish with some mustard oil and toasted cashews.
- Add 1 tablespoon of Thai red curry paste when frying the spring onions for a Thai flavoured pumpkin soup. Add some bruised lemongrass stems and several kaffir lime leaves to infuse the soup. Towards the end, add some coconut cream and heat very gently so as not to curdle the cream. Garnish with some sliced red chillis and fresh coriander leaves.
- Around Christmas time, I add a cinnamon stick and some peeled apple pieces to the soup and garnish each soup serving with crème fraîche, toasted pecans and fried sage leaves.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- 1.2 – 1.5 kg butternut pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzling over the pumpkin
- 6 spring onions, chopped roughly
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 750m – 1-litre store-bought or homemade vegetable stock
- Some spring onion stems, green middle part, sliced finely for garnishing
- Pumpkin seeds, for garnishing
- Pumpkin seed oil, for drizzling
- Large, deep pot with a lid
- Food processor or handheld stick blender
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Roasting time: 30 minutes
- Simmering time: 45 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
2. Wash and dry the pumpkin well before slicing it into large chunks and removing the seeds and stringy flesh, leaving the skin on.
3. Lay the pumpkin pieces with the skins facing down on the tray.
4. Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt over the pumpkin and roast the pumpkin for 30 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and breaks away from the skin.
5. In a large, deep pot over medium heat, heat the butter and olive oil and gently fry the spring onions for 5 minutes.
6. Scoop the pumpkin flesh from the skin* and add it to the spring onions, together with the stock. The stock should just cover the pumpkin.
* TIP: Either discard the skins or return them to the oven to crisp up with a drizzle of olive oil. They make amazing, nutritious, crunchy chips that can be accompanied by dips.
7. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for 40 minutes, checking every now. Add more stock if it appears too thick. Alternatively, if too thin, leave the lid off and increase the heat slightly so that the soup thickens.
8. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, remove the lid and add the nutmeg, white pepper and salt. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
9. Using a food processor or a handheld stick blender, puree the soup. You may want to allow the soup to cool down for 15 minutes before blending to avoid hot backsplashes.
10. Return the pureed soup to the pot and keep it warm on a very low heat until serving time.
11. Gently dry roast the pumpkin seeds, stirring often until they appear roasted and smell toasty. Set aside.
12. Using the middle green stems of 3 of the spring onions, slice them very thinly. Set aside.
13. Ladle the soup into attractive bowls and drizzle a small amount of pumpkin seed oil over the top, together with a sprinkling of some toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped spring onion greens.
Serve with freshly baked Kaiser bread rolls.
- Makes 6 – 8 servings
- Keeps for 3 days chilled
- Freezes well ungarnished
For a decadent touch, add a few drops of truffle oil instead of the pumpkin seed oil on top of each soup serving.