Spicy soup for a cold day

Pumpkin soup.jpgFirst of all, a confession – I got so carried away with the need to eat this that I completely forgot to photograph what I was doing as I went along. But it is all pretty simple – I am sure you can visualise chopped veggies – so I’m going to give you the recipe anyway, as it is pretty yummy, particularly served with hot garlic bread.

Today has not only been extremely cold, but it is a diet day, so that’s a double whammy. Robin and I have been following the 5:2 diet, quite successfully, for about three years. We no longer count every calorie, as we’re really just concerned with maintaining our new weights rather than losing any more kilos, but we try to eat very lightly on 5:2 days and sneaky glasses of wine are strictly forbidden.

In our fabulous greengrocer’s shop today, they were cutting up the most enormous pumpkins and selling them by the portion. My wedge, which probably represented about one eighth of the beast, weighed 2.5 kilos, just to give you some idea. As I have enough frozen turkey stock to sink the Titanic, my thoughts immediately turned to soup.

Here’s my piece of pumpkin in all its glory, along with the recipe:

Thai spiced pumpkin soup (serves 4 – 5 people)

Pumpkin soup ingredients.jpg

About 1.5 kg pumpkin
2 carrots, washed and sliced
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 leek, washed and sliced
3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped or grated
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (more if you like things hotter)
1 can coconut milk (reduced fat if you prefer)
750ml vegetable or chicken stock (a cube is fine)
1 lime
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Large handful of fresh coriander – stalks and leaves, finely chopped
Lime wedges, sliced chilli and natural yoghurt to serve

Peel the pumpkin using a large sharp knife – I find it easier (and safer for my fingers) to cut the pumpkin into large chunks before attempting to cut off the peel. Cut the flesh into approx 2cm cubes.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion over a medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic, the grated zest of the lime, the chopped stalks from the coriander and the rest of the vegetables.  Stir well, then cover and cook over a low heat for about five minutes until just starting to soften. Stir in the curry paste, then add the stock, coconut milk and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Puree using a stick blender, stir in the chopped coriander and check for seasoning. Ladle into large bowls and finish with a dollop of yoghurt, some finely sliced red chilli and another sprinkling of coriander if you like. Serve lime wedges on the side.

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