Pumpkin soup with rosemary muffins

    1 hour 35 min

    Pumpkin blends to a richly coloured, ultra-smooth soup, here enhanced by the wonderful flavour of rosemary. Crunchy hazelnut, pumpkin and rosemary muffins complement the soup perfectly.

    2 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) peeled pumpkin flesh, diced, about 675 g (1½ lb) unpeeled weight
    • 1 potato, peeled and diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
    • 900 ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock, preferably home-made light
    • 150 ml (5 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
    • 100 g (3½ oz) fromage frais
    • salt and pepper
    • Rosemary and hazelnut muffins
    • 100 g (3½ oz) hazelnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
    • 340 g (12 oz) self-raising flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 85 g (3 oz) butter, melted
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 200 ml (7 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
    • To garnish
    • 100 g (3½ oz ) fromage frais
    • a little paprika
    • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

    Prep:35min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1hr35min 

    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the pumpkin and cook for 4–5 minutes or until softened but not browned. Use a draining spoon to remove 100 g (3½ oz) of the fried onion and pumpkin mixture and reserve it for the muffins.
    2. Add the potato, garlic and rosemary to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then pour in the stock and add seasoning to taste. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, make the muffins. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF, gas mark 7). Finely chop the reserved fried pumpkin and onion, then place in a bowl. Add the hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, butter, chopped rosemary, eggs and milk. Use a fork to mix the ingredients together until evenly combined.
    4. Place 12 deep paper muffin cases in a muffin tray with cups 5 cm (2 in) in diameter and 3 cm (1 1/4 in) deep. Divide the mixture among the cases. Bake for 12–15 minutes or until risen, golden and cracked across the top. Remove the muffins from the tray and wrap them in a clean tea-towel to keep them warm.
    5. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth, or purée in the pan using a hand-held blender. Return the soup to the pan, if necessary, and stir in the milk and fromage frais. Reheat gently but do not boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
    6. Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Garnish with fromage frais, paprika and sprigs of rosemary, and serve with the warm muffins.

    Another idea

    For a spicy pumpkin and sweet potato soup, use peeled and diced sweet potato instead of ordinary potato. Add 1 tsp coarsely crushed cumin seeds, 2 tsp coarsely crushed coriander seeds and a 2.5 cm (1 in) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped, with the garlic instead of the rosemary. Just before serving, add a dash of chilli sauce, such as Tabasco, for a hint of chilli heat. Garnish the soup with fromage frais, a sprinkle of ground cumin and chopped fresh coriander.

    Plus points

    As well as being an excellent source of beta-carotene, pumpkin also provides several other antioxidants including lutein and zeaxanthin. These are believed to help protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye disease that affects 20% of people over the age of 65 and is the leading cause of blindness in the western world. * Hazelnuts are a rich source of vitamins B1, E and niacin. They also provide useful amounts of calcium, iron and zinc, and are a good source of the essential fatty acids.

    Each serving provides

    B1, E * A, B2, B6, niacin, calcium, potassium, zinc * C, folate, iron

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