Monday, September 16, 2013

Pumpkin, Saffron and Orange Soup with Caramelized Pumpkin Seeds

Boy, it's getting colder! Which is why I'm starting the week off with a soup recipe. This will warm you up and put a smile on your face on grey and rainy autumn days, believe me! Ottolenghi just never ceases to stun me with his fabulous flavor combinations. The roasted onions give this soup a slightly smokey touch. The saffron brings in the warmth. The orange peel adds a wonderful sweetness. It just all blends in perfectly with the pumpkin. And the spicy caramelized pumpkin seeds are so yummy, it's hard to stop oneself from sneaking them off the baking tray after taking them out of the oven...

(from: here)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
550g pumpkin flesh, cut into 2cm cubes
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 tsp saffron fronds
1 litre water or vegetable stock
2 tsp grated orange zest
6 tbsp crème fraîche
Salt and white pepper

For the pumpkin seeds:
1 tbsp sunflower oil
60g pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp golden (or maple) syrup
½ tbsp soft brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 big pinch cayenne pepper

Serves six.

First prepare the seeds. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line an oven tray with greaseproof paper and brush with sunflower oil. Put the pumpkin seeds in a bowl with all the other ingredients, spread over the tray and bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring a few times, until a nice, golden color. Leave to cool down.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the onion, season and sauté over high heat for a minute, stirring all the time. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft, sweet and golden brown, but not very dark.

Add the pumpkin, carrot and saffron, pour in water or stock to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the pumpkin and carrots are almost tender. Add the orange zest and simmer for five minutes longer. When the vegetables are thoroughly cooked, blitz the soup with a hand blender or liquidiser - you want it with a bit of texture, not too smooth. Add extra water or stock if it is too thick. Season to taste.

Serve in shallow bowls with a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of the caramelised seeds.

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