Pumpkin Soup Marketing
A pumpkin soup is a lovely soup and so easy to make, especially if you have a stick blender to give it a really silky, smooth consistency. Most people don’t mess with the flavour, relying on the natural sweetness of the pumpkin and nothing else but a good grind of black pepper. I wanted to make such a soup for my take home range at the cafe I ran and I wanted to label it “Just Pumpkin Soup” because I felt that what a lot people really wanted was a homey pumpkin soup; a remembrance of things past, a remedy for feeling a little off colour, something to please young and old alike. Less is more as they say and it would have been in stark contrast to the supermarket “gourmet soup” choices which seem to have all sorts of of additives and often a prominent coriander flavour be it a Tuscan bean soup, leek and potato or pumpkin. In the end we went with pumpkin and ginger because in the retail world adding something to stimulate interest, even if it is minor, is what apparently sells a product. Strawberry and Madagascan vanilla jam or Seville orange and malt whisky marmalade both conjure up something exotic and more delicious in our minds than a mere strawberry jam or orange marmalade. The pumpkin and ginger soup sold quite well although there were requests for a much bigger ginger kick or even Thai spices and coconut milk. A recent request from my husband for a pumpkin soup with added cooked rice like he had when he was a kid started me thinking again about additions to pumpkin soup and I thought the rice might be nice to try. Further deviating from my previous “just pumpkin soup” mantra I also decided to add a little of the warm spices I use for roasting root vegetables, such as cumin, coriander, ginger and curry powder but only a small amount just to give a hint of spice. I also decorated the top with a sprinkling of dukkah. I was quite pleased with the end result but what my husband was hankering after was “just pumpkin soup” but with a little rice. Seems I failed to grasp my customer base again. 🙁
Pumpkin soup is one of those soups you can make without the need for stock; the pumpkin can be simmered in milk and then puréed to creamy smoothness. Adding a stock and a soffrito of onion and carrot can however give another dimension to the taste and if you want a little more depth of flavour I can recommend my spiced version with rice and dukkah.
Spiced Pumpkin Soup With Rice
Use a Queensland blue, butternut or a thick skinned heritage variety such as Golden Hubbard (red warty thing)
- 1/4 cup arborio rice
- 700g pumpkin
- olive oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- dukkah, for garnish
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Cut the pumpkin into small chunks, toss with a little olive oil and roast in the oven until just tender. Cook the rice in boiling water for 15-20 minutes (you want a little bite left in the rice) then drain and rinse under the tap and set aside.
Fry the shallots and the carrot in a little olive oil until softened and then add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes until the shallots and carrot are coated. Add the roasted pumpkin and then cover with the stock. Simmer until the pumpkin is quite soft. Blitz the mix in the saucepan with a stick blender until smooth and silky. Add extra water or stock to get the desired consistency and return to the stove. Add the cooked rice and warm through. Serve with a sprinkling of dukkah.
Variation: try Gerwürzhaus macadamia nut dukkah
If you do have to deal with a whole thick skinned pumpkin try this ingenious American approach to getting manageable pieces.