The shops are full of pumpkins at this time of year and rather wastefully many people simple use this great veg as a decoration and through the lovely flesh away! There are many great ways to cook pumpkin (pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin neepies and haggis), but my favourite is a warming spicy pumpkin soup. I'm eating some I made last night as I type - yum.
so here's what to do....
Pumpkin flesh cut into cubes half the size of your thumb. The pumpkins in the shops are big so you'll only need about half of it (about 600 - 800g)
1 onion (finely chopped)
3 sticks of lemon grass
2 thumb size bits of fresh ginger
3 fresh chillies (de-seeded)
3 good sized cloves of garlic
small handful of lime leaves
1 tea spoon of ground cumin
1 tea spoon of five spice
1 1/2 pints of chicken or veg stock
1 400g tin of coconut milk
200g of red lentils (Dahl)
Method - peel the outer skin of the lemon grass chop it into small lengths in put it in your whizzer. Add into the whizzer the chillies, garlic, ginger, cumin and five spice. Whiz everything in the whizzer.
Put a splash of olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot and put on a low heat. Add the contents of the whizzer. Stir a little so it does not stick and enjoy the fragrances as they hit your face. After 5 mins add the onion and give it a good stir. Let it cook for a further 5 - 10 mins and then add in your pumpkin. Give it a good stir so the pumpkin gets covers with the mix that's already in your pot. After a couple of mins add in the stock and bring to the boil.
Let it simmer for approx 15 mins giving the occasional stir. The pumpkin should be starting to go soft now and will break up when you stir. This is what you want it to do.
Rinse your red lentil in a sieve under some cold water and then add to the pot. Give it a good stir. Leave for a further 15 - 20 mins, again giving the occasional stir. The last thing you want is the lentils sticking to the bottom of your pot and burning.
Add your tin of coconut milk and stir it in. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste. Let the soup come back to the boil for 5 mins and it's ready to serve.
There's load of other stuff you can add to this, e.g. fresh coriander, grated nutmeg, lime juice, or do a butternut squash and pumpkin mix. You can also use Basmati rice instead of the lentils, just use the same quantities