Here “down under” in Australia, Spring is well on it’s way. To farewell Winter and having the very last of my dad’s home-grown pumpkins waiting to be used, I decided to whip up a soup for lunch today. Somehow pumpkin soup always makes me feel good on the inside.
As well as pumpkin, I added some of my other favourite things. I’m having a current love affair with fennel (growing madly in my garden right now) so that’s definitely going in. And my favourite spices are, without a doubt, ginger and turmeric so I knew they both had to be featured as well. Plus, of course, a soup wouldn’t be complete without garlic and onion.
So here it is, my lunch today…roast pumpkin, ginger & fennel soup with fennel and ginger sea salt roasted pumpkin seeds.
This is how I like my pumpkin soup – with plenty of ginger and turmeric, a bit of garlic and onion and lots of beautiful fennel. And to top it off, whole roasted pumpkin seeds. I prefer to eat pumpkin seeds whole, along with the shell. If you roast your pumpkin seeds following the steps in the recipe below, the outer shells don’t need to be removed in order to enjoy the seed inside. Although feel free to peel them if you prefer. Or leave them off.
This soup has an earthy sweetness from the pumpkin and fennel seeds that’s balanced by a a gentle heat from the ginger and the turmeric. Add the saltiness and crunch of the roasted pumpkin seeds on top for a hearty and delicious meal.
This pumpkin soup goes well with a dollop of Greek yogurt (optional but delicious) and a crusty piece of bread.
roast pumpkin, ginger, turmeric & fennel soup
Now, don't be put off if you don't yet have the a fennel & ginger sea salt blend. You can get some in the apinchof.com.au shop or simply substitute good quality sea salt flakes.
1medium sized pumpkinroughly chopped into pieces (seeds reserved for garnish)
pinchblack pepperroughly ground
1onionor 2-3 small
1 fennel bulbroughly chopped (keep fennel fronds aside for garnish)
5cmfresh ginger rootpeeled & roughly chopped
1Tbsturmeric powderif you don't love it as much as I do 1-2 tsp may be enough
4 cupsvegetable stockapproximate - depending how thick you like your soup
pinchfennel & ginger sea salt
pinchgreen fennel seeds or other herbs of choice
Begin by preheating your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Roughly chop your pumpkin and onion. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and add seasoning and fennel seeds. Note: I also like to lay a few of the fennel tops (fronds) on the baking sheet and place the pumpkin on top. This imparts a little more of the fennel-y aniseed-y flavour to the soup.
Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the pumpkin browns and softens.
Note: If your pumpkin skin is particularly tough and hard to cut you can simply cut it in half, drizzle with oil, season and increase the cooking time - double or more, depending on the size of your pumpkin
Take the pumpkin seeds and remove as much of the pulpy stringy pumpkin as you can. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, stir together the pumpkin seeds, a drizzle of olive oil and a generous pinch (or 2) of fennel and ginger salt. Stir to coat. Spread the seeds in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring once, until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
Here's a great tip: If you like things salty, this optional extra step is worth it. Brine your seeds in salted water before roasting, and all of the salt gets infused through the whole seed, not just sprinkled on top. Here's how... Put the clean, rinsed pumpkin seeds in a medium saucepan. For each cup of seeds, add two cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. Add a dribble of olive oil as well. Bring to a boil then simmer for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Then continue as with step 4 above.
In a large pan, add a dash of oil along with the garlic, turmeric, fennel and ginger allowing to sweat over a low heat for 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally. Next add in the bay leaf and vegetable stock followed by the roasted pumpkin and onion.
In batches transfer to a blender or use a hand blender to blitz until complete smooth.
Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. You can add a little extra stock if it's a little thick.
Once blitzed and smooth, serve with a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkle of chopped fennel tops. Green fennel seeds are amazing used to garnish this soup if you're lucky enough to have fennel growing. Otherwise any herbs: parsley, coriander, chives etc will be good.
Finish with a sprinkle of some of the salty delicious pumpkin seeds. Those that you don't use will last for a few days in an airtight jar to be snacked on whenever the urge takes you.
Serve with a big hunk of generously buttered bread.
Note: eat your pumpkin soup there and then or you can allow to cool and reheat when you’re ready to eat. It also freezes really well so you can make up a huge batch and freeze in convenient serving sized portions.
Including ginger and turmeric in your diet will help in keeping your immune system strong, amongst many other health benefits.