Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Soup with Crispy Shallots and Pumpkin Seeds

I’m putting pumpkin in everything at the moment. It’s such an earthy, autumnal flavour, and goes beautifully with so many things.

The first time I ever had pumpkin soup was as a child: I have a vague memory of mum making it for me and my sister, and us turning our noses up at it. I doubt very much that it was due to mum’s cooking – we’d never had anything like pumpkin before (no squash or sweet potatoes, either), and like a lot of children were wary of change. Thankfully that’s something we’ve both grown out of (with food, at least!).

Pumpkin soup is quite a traditional dish, but the sage and shallots in this give it a lovely twist. You can easily make it in bulk and freeze for future use, or try using a soup mug to take it into work for a comforting packed lunch.

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Ingredients (serves 4):
– 1 edible pumpkin (about 1kg unprepped weight)
– 2 large onions
– 3 cloves garlic
– 30g butter
– handful sage leaves (about 12, or to taste)
– large glass dry white wine
– 1L vegetable stock
– 2 shallots, sliced into rings
– handful pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat your oven to 220°C. Wash the pumpkin and chop it into chunks; don’t bother peeling it – once it’s roasted the skin will come away easily. Place into a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly

2. Roughly chop the onion and garlic. Place into a large pot along with the butter, and cook on a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. Stir in the sage leaves (roughly chopped) after the first 5 minutes.

3. Peel the pumpkin skin away from the flesh, and add the latter to the pot with the onions. Add the white wine and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan, until darker in colour and beginning to crack. Set aside. Add a small knob of butter to the now empty pan, and fry the shallots for about 5 minutes, until golden and crisp.

5. Use a stick blender to blend the soup, then ladle into bowls. Sprinkle the toasted pumpkin seeds and shallots over the top, then serve with crusty bread.

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Tip: to make this vegan, simply replace the butter with 1 tbsp olive oil.

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