Recipe: Pumpkin, chilli and coconut soup

I’ve been very lucky lately to have 2 pumpkins find their way into my life, both destined to make this warming autumnal soup: one from my mum and the other from Tristan’s parents, grown in their own back garden no less.

In keeping with the MOOC that I’m doing, New Nordic Diet – from gastronomy to health, I’m making a real effort to cook seasonally and locally and I’ve been spending lots of time considering how to best put together lots of recipes that take on all the major aims of the project, but apply it to Norfolk, where I live. Pumpkins are not only in season at the moment, but also thriving locally, so in conclusion, let’s get making soup.

The size of your pumpkin (or squash, as this works equally well with all manner of gourds too) will contribute to the end consistency of the soup – if you have one of those large carving pumpkins that usually houses a tea light, I would suggest just using half for this recipe and cooking up the rest of the flesh for something else delicious like pumpkin pie…just a suggestion!

Pumpkin, chilli and coconut soup

1 small or ½ a large pumpkin

1 teaspoon sunflower or rapeseed oil, plus a little drizzle extra for the skin

400ml coconut milk

1 scant teaspoon of chilli flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 200 degrees centigrade.

Cut your pumpkin in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy innards. Score hatched lines into the flesh and swill a little oil around the inside before putting the pumpkins flesh-side down in a roasting dish.

Drizzle a tiny splash of extra oil on the outside skin and smooth it over with your hands to spread the coating equally. Sprinkle a little salt on top and place the dish in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until the flesh has started to blacken. You might get a collapse but don’t worry, that’s fine!

Take the pumpkin out of the oven and leave it to cool until cold enough to handle.

Set a large pan on the stovetop and, using a spoon, separate and discard the skin and put the flesh along with any juices into the pan. Add the tin of coconut milk and sprinkle over chilli flakes, and heat until bubbling. Use a handheld blender to purify and lumps and then serve with a little extra sprinkle of chilli flakes.

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