A dab hand in the kitchen, Milly Cundall whips up a seasonal spicy pumpkin and coconut soup for the highbrow Halloweener!
Halloween’s round the corner and you can’t move in a supermarket for fear of knocking over some sort of seasonal display unit brimming with ghoulish products. Often, if you do succumb and buy a pumpkin, you end-up spooning out all its innards only to chuck them away. Us Brits are miles behind the Americans on this front – they make a smorgasbord of delicious Pumpkin treats from pies and cheesecakes, to breads and soups from its orange insides and it’s about time we upped our game. Even if you’re not likely to buy into the 24-hour whirlwind that is Halloween and you’re the sort, come All Hallows’ Eve, to sit in with all the lights off pretending to be out, talking in hushed tones every time an expectant crew of kids excitedly bangs at your door, you can still make this soup thanks to the perfectly acceptable invention that is Libby’s tinned Pumpkin – to be honest this also saves you a lot of the leg work required with fresh. This is a warming, seasonal soup that I’ve slightly spiced to give it an extra kick!
2 cups or 1 tin of Libby’s pumpkin or if using fresh Pumpkin 425g peeled, deseeded and cubed.
2 cups 1 tin heated coconut milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1 pint chicken stock
A couple of handfuls from the middle of a loaf of any stale bread torn into small strips – I used stale Ciabatta.
Swig of good olive oil
Pinch of salt
Step by step:
1. Add a splash of olive oil to a medium sized, heavy bottom saucepan over a low heat. If using tinned Pumpkin gently heat it through for a couple of minutes, if you’re using fresh pumpkin cook over the low heat until it softens (8-10 minutes)
2. Stir in all your spices and cook for a couple of minutes more.
3. In another pan gently heat your coconut milk so it’s simmering.
4. Pour the coconut milk and pint of chicken stock into the pan with the pumpkin, turn the heat up and bring to the boil. Then turn down and leave to simmer for at least 15 minutes.
5. Whilst the soup’s cooking whack your oven up to max, put your torn strips of bread onto a baking tray, cover with a good glug of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt (I use rock salt) and put on the top shelf of your oven until golden and crispy (no more that 10 mins).
6. If you’re using fresh pumpkin take the soup off the heat, let cool slightly then puree with a hand blender, if using tinned ignore this step.
Season with a good crack of pepper and salt to taste. I add a pinch of chopped flat leaf parsley, a teaspoon of cream or Crème fraîche and then a handful of rugged croutons to finish it off.
Text: Milly Cundall