It’s Winter here in Sydney and warm Pumpkin Soup is almost as Australian as Vegemite, Pavlova and Hugh Jackman. According to Australian Masterchef host, Matt Preston, Pumpkin is the most common type of soup Googled online. Preston has also found that our love affair with Pumpkin Soup, is uniquely Australian:
“As a nation we are rather unique in our love of pumpkin soup. The French cook it but it doesn’t feature as prominently in their kitchens as a bouillabaisse or a bisque. Americans do it too, but the soup is a poor cousin to the far more popular pumpkin pie. And the Korean hobakjuk is as much pumpkin porridge as soup.”
Before we proceed to the recipe, I have found it necessary to clarify what I’m actually calling “pumpkin”. Apparently, pumpkin by any other name does taste the same, but I’ve also found out that what is referred to as “pumpkin” in different parts of the world, isn’t what we Australians know as “pumpkin”.
Indeed, the butternut pumpkin I’ve used, is known as “squash” or “butternut squash” in other parts of the world.
However, to be sure to be sure to be sure, if whatever you call it comes in a tin, forget it. It’s not going to kill you to make this from scratch and some supermarkets do sell pumpkin pre-peeled and sliced so you can cheat without spoiling the soup.
This recipe is based on on a recipe by Margaret Fulton, who helped launch my cooking journey as a child. In 1968, she launched her first cookbook: Margaret Fulton’s Cookbook, and it revolutionized Australian cooking. Along with the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook, these were cooking Bibles in Australian homes and still are in many today.
Our whole family loves this Pumpkin Soup and it literally evaporated off the plates . Indeed, it’s spoon licking good!
Thanks to the butternut pumpkin/squash, this soup has a deliciously sweet flavour and creamy smooth texture. Yum!
4.5 cups butternut pumpkin/squash…peeled and diced
A sprinkling of salt.
½ chopped onion (one smallish onion)
2 cups water
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk
Optional Serving Ingredients:
- In a large, heavy frying pan, melt half of the butter (45g) on high heat.
- Add diced pumpkin and onion, turning constantly.
- Fry for about 10 minutes, or until the pumpkin has started to caramelise.
- Add water.
- Reduce to medium heat and simmer until pumpkin is very tender and falling apart.
- Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. This produces a finer texture.
- You need to puree this pumpkin mix. I usually do it in the blender, but this is quite messy and my ancient blender struggles a bit. A friend recommended using a stick blender, which would cut out a lot of mess and encourage me to make it more often. However you blend it, the texture needs to be very fine and creamy.
- Melt butter in frying pan. If you have pureed the pumpkin mix in the frying pan, you will need to do this a separate, small frying pan.
- Add flour to the melted butter and stir together.
- Add a small amount of pumpkin soup to flour and melted butter and mix well, gradually adding the rest. Stir rigorously to prevent lumps from forming. Blend again if lumps develop.
- Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
- Just before serving, combine egg yolk with a little of the pumpkin soup and then mix that in with the rest of the soup.
- Serves four.
Pumpkin Soup is usually served with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped chives. I usually chop the chives with a pair of scissors over the top of the soup.
Bread is a natural accompaniment to Pumpkin Soup. It is often served with a crusty bread roll and butter. However, yesterday I diced up a day old baguette, and fried the pieces in a mix of melted butter and olive oil in the frying pan. These were scrumptiously delicious, even if they were a little naughty. Watch the bread closely as it can burn easily.
A word of encouragement. In my experience, it is hard to get this wrong.
That is, as long as you don’t heed the cardinal rule of cooking. Never turn your back on a hot stove.
5th June, 2017.