My Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Plantain Crisps is just perfect for the season with warming and aromatic spices, and crispy sweet plantains. All lovingly and easily homemade. This is a great recipe to customise with more chilli if you want more heat, and with coconut cream for a lighter and creamier texture. This soup is on my winter cookery class menu, and at my dinner parties, I often serve Pumpkin Pepper Soup, my Nigerian version of this using pepper soup spices. I will share this recipe soon. This is fabulous served as a starter, a soup course or in cute little cups as canapes. Plantain crisps make these a wonderful marriage of North African and West African flavours and I love any excuse to enjoy them as crouton substitutes in salads, soups and in baked goods. The list is endless!
Click here for the recipe for my healthy baked plantain crisps and use it in this soup and in all your other favourites.
My secret to enjoying seasonal cooking is using the best of the season. Picking the right produce makes all the difference in your roasts, soups and stews. Like kids in a candy store, Thurston and I went to Sharnfold Farm, a lovely farm and shop in Hailsham, just a few miles from Eastbourne where local produce and seductive pots of condiments are just waiting for food lovers to enjoy.
Pumpkins picked, now let’s get cooking!
Cooking time: 60 – 70 minutes
Feeds 4 – 5 people
1 – 1.5 kg pumpkin
120 ml olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 celery stick, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 red chilies, destalked and chopped
800 ml vegetable stock, or 1 stock cube dissolved in water
1 tsp fine sea salt
Plantain crisps (see recipe here)
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Cut off the top and bottom of the pumpkin so that it sits flat on your chopping board. Cut into 4 – 5 wedges, pull apart and scoop out the pulp and seeds using a spoon. Save the seeds and roast later at 180C with olive oil. Since my pumpkin is about 2 kilograms, I’ll use about half, while I peel and chop the rest into cubes and freeze for another delicious recipe. Place your pumpkin wedges in a baking dish or baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, brush the fleshy part with olive oil and turn skin side up to roast. This way the fleshy part of the pumpkin steam cooks without browning excessively. Roast for 40 minutes in the middle of the oven.
2. While the pumpkin is roasting prepare the base for your soup. Chop one onion, three shallots and mince the garlic. I like using both onions and shallots as they have varying flavours and I particularly love shallots for their sweetness. Chop the celery, carrots, red chilies and set aside.
3. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, on low heat sweat the onions, shallots, and garlic for 5 minutes. As they turn a light golden hue, add the dry spices but leave out the salt for now. Add the chopped carrots and celery and red chilies, stir and add a splash of water, cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
4. Once the pumpkin is roasted, check for doneness by poking into it with a small knife. If it goes in and out with no resistance, it is cooked. If not cooked through, not to worry, you can finish it off in the pot. Peel and discard the skin of the pumpkin and add the roasted flesh to the pot.
5. Add 800ml of stock and bring to the boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Take it off the heat and taste for seasoning. Add a teaspoon of salt if required. I left salt for last because sometimes the salt in the stock is just sufficient. Carefully transfer to a blender or using a hand blender, and whizz until silky smooth. Pour your soup back into the pot and serve to your heart’s delight!
Serve with a final flourish of crumbled plantain crisps and pumpkin seeds. You can roast the seeds from your pumpkins for 15 minutes at 180C or use store-bought seeds which are perfectly alright.
Now tuck into this warm hug in a bowl!
Cook’s tip: Add more chili for a hotter soup and after blending add 200ml coconut cream or for a creamier texture, although this soup is quite creamy already!
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Happy cooking! x