Extra-special Pumpkin Soup: Cooking On The Fire

Pumpkin Soup is an easy, hearty dish to cook in the cold months of winter. One thing I love to do is cook my soup and stews on our wood-burner stove. With the fire turned down low, it heats the house and at the same time, our dinner simmers for hours. The flavours merge and mingle and the soup or stew is tender and delicious.

As usual, I’m not very good at following the many soup recipes in my collection of cookbooks. I’d rather throw some ingredients into the pot and see what happens.

The other day I had plenty of pumpkins and a few other bits and bobs. So, I concocted an extra-special pumpkin soup which turned out to be delicious. We decided it was a keeper so I wrote the recipe down. Most of the vegetables in it are orange, so I guess it’ll be full of carotene. Maybe that’s why my eyes seemed to be sharper today?

Extra-Special Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin, bacon, parsley, onions: ingredients in my extra-special pumpkin soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil or butter
  • 2 onions
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 orange kumara
  • 2 carrots
  • Up to ½ a medium-sized pumpkin
  • 2L chicken stock (I used Campbell’s)
  • Parsley to decorate

Equipment

  • Large metal pot (mine holds 10L)
  • A stick blender (easier) or potato masher (harder)
  • Food processor (quicker) or sharp knife and/or grater (slower)
  • Cutting board + sharp knife
  • Large spoon for stirring.

Directions

  1. Dice, slice or grate all the vegetables. The easiest way is to chop them finely in a food processor if you have one. If not, by hand takes longer but the soup will turn out fine.
  2. Heat the oil or butter in a pot on the stove.
  3. Saute the onion, diced bacon and garlic until soft and flavoursome.
  4. Add all the chopped orange vegetables and chicken stock. 
  5. Bring to the boil then transfer to the top of the fire to simmer until cooked.
  6. Of course, you can also continue to cook the soup on the stovetop or transfer it to a slow-cooker. 
  7. Once cooked, use the stick blender, food processor or potato masher to blend everything until you have a smooth, creamy, orange soup.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if you like and serve with fresh bread or hot, buttered cheese scones.

Serves 4 – 8 people depending on the serving size.

Pot of Extra-special pumpkin soup simmering on the wood-burner.
I like to get maximum bang for my buck. In winter our fire is performing three useful functions. It’s warming the house, cooking our tea AND heating the hot water. Now that’s efficiency plus.

Notes

If you’re in a hurry, this soup could be ready in under an hour, but the longer it simmers the better it will taste. With soups, it’s always better to think ahead if you can. 

Soups like this one keep for a few days in the fridge and often taste better the next day.

Afterword

A few years ago I wanted to give Christmas gifts that would be personal, useful and meaningful to our girls.

So, I went hunting in all sorts of places for notebooks.  I found Debbie’s in a Queenstown craft shop and Steph’s up in Oxford.  Finally, the perfect journal for Jenny turned up in The Stables/Hunny Shop right here in Garston.

In the following months, I hand-wrote all our family recipes into those books. Favourites from Nana and Grandma – and even a few from their great-grandmother. I wrote recipes I’d found or invented too. Ones we’ve eaten time and again over the years. I loved the thought of each girl having a record of the food they grew up with from both sides of their family tree.

The three, hand-written family recipe books I gave to my daughters one Christmas time.
The three, hand-written family recipe books I made for our daughters one Christmas time. I left plenty of space at the back so they could each carry on the tradition by adding their own recipes and notes.

Steph, Debbie, Jenny,  I think this pumpkin soup is a super recipe to add to your books.

NB  Our son would have had one too if he was the slightest bit interested in cooking anything other than sausages or pizza. Sadly, I had a feeling that it would end up in a drawer with all the other cookbooks he’s never opened. I gave him some much-needed socks instead.

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