Holy shit balls, guys! We did it. We’re married, and we’ve just got back from a week of eating, walking, and adventuring our way around Melbourne. If you’d like to see some of our Melbourne (or wedding) snaps, check out my Instagram. I’m going to spend many happy hours this weekend sorting through photos (stay tuned for wedding and honeymoon posts soon), but right now, I’ve got some kittens to cuddle.
If you’ve always sort of been like ‘meh’ to pumpkin soup or soups in general (though – seriously? I thought this was an insane – I would eat soup every day given the opportunity – until I met Adam, who gets ancy if he has soup once a fortnight, let alone every day – but this soup got the Adam-stamp-of-approval, which means that it’s even better than what I think is a good soup normally), I have the solution: roasting. Roast everything first (except celery – I don’t think celery particularly warms to roasting, but that’s just me). This intensifies the flavours in the vegetables a huge amount, and you get awesome little browned flavoursome bits.
Once everything’s roasted (that is, cooked), all you have to do is dump it in a pot, add water or stock, bring to the boil and blend. You’ve added another dimension (and another adjective) to your soup.
Also, pumpkin seeds. I’m positive that after discovering the absolute magic of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds, I’m never going to throw away a single pumpkin seed again. Ever. These were just so good, half of them didn’t even make it onto the soup, but into my mouth somewhere in the two hours between morning snack and lunchtime. I’m excited by the possible adventures I’m going to have with pumpkin seeds. Triple paprika? Cumin and lemon? Chilli and lime? Watch this pumpkin-seed-coated space.
Roasted Pumpkin and Leek Soup
- I also topped this soup with paprika tofu croutons (toss with 1 tsp paprika before roasting). Regular tofu croutons would also be delicious!
- 1.1 kg (deseeded and peeled weight) pumpkin, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 leeks, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper
- 4 bay leaves
- 8 sage leaves
- 1 stick celery, chopped
- 1.6 liter (6.5 cups) water/stock
- 1 tsp turmeric
Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F). Remember to reserve the seeds from your pumpkin! Wrap garlic cloves in foil and set aside. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables (except the celery), oil, bay, and sage, with salt and pepper to taste. Spread out in a single layer over two ovens trays lined with baking paper. Nestle the foil-wrapped garlic onto one of the trays. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and starting to colour.
Remove the garlic from the foil, and squeeze the soft garlic from its skin. In a large saucepan, combine roasted vegetables, garlic, celery, water/stock, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, then carefully blend using a stick blender, or in batches in a standing blender. Serve topped with za’atar roasted pumpkin seeds, tofu croutons, and toasted bread, if desired.
Za’atar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
makes about 1/2 cup
- Za’atar is amazing and goes on pretty much anything. If you can’t find a mix already made (there’s a spice seller at the markets I get mine from), here is a recipe.
- 1/2 raw pumpkin seeds (from about half a whole pumpkin)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp za’atar spice mix
- pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 180 C (355 F). Rinse pumpkin seeds to remove any pumpkin fibers. Pat dry with a tea towel or kitchen paper. Combine the pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, stirring to thoroughly coat everything. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, spreading out into a single layer. Roast for 10-15 minutes, checking at 10 minutes to make sure they’re not colouring too quickly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Should keep for about one week.