About this recipe:This is a Mexican soup also known as sopa de flor de calabaza. It's packed with courgettes, sweetcorn, carrots and chopped pumpkin flowers. Serve with crusty bread rolls or corn bread.
1 red pepper
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 head garlic, finely chopped or to taste
500g diced courgettes
310g sweetcorn kernels
130g diced carrots
500g tomato puree
1.5 litres water
1 sprig epazote
4 cubes chicken stock
4 cupfuls fresh pumpkin flowers, washed and coarsely chopped
350ml double cream
salt and pepper to taste
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Preheat the grill and set the oven rack at about 15cm from the heat source. Line a baking tray with foil. Cut the red pepper in half from top to bottom; remove the stem and seeds and place the pepper cut side down, onto the prepared baking tray. Cook under the preheated grill until the skin of the pepper has blackened and blistered, about 5 minutes. Place the blackened pepper into a bowl and tightly seal with cling film. Allow the pepper to steam as it cools, about 10 minutes. Once cool, peel the skin from the pepper.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and cook and stir the onions until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook and stir for another 2 to 3 minutes until cooked but not browned and add the courgettes, sweetcorn and carrots. Cook and stir the vegetables until tender, about 15 minutes. Pour in the tomato puree and water and add the epazote, chicken stock cubes and peeled red pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Working in batches if necessary, pour the soup into a liquidiser and blend until smooth. Pour the blended soup into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in the chopped pumpkin flowers and simmer until cooked and tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the cream, mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.
Epazote can be purchased in Hispanic speciality shops or online.
Pumpkin flowers can be purchased in very specialised green grocers or Farmer's markets.