Cajun spiced pumpkin soup with lime and chilli toasted pumpkin seeds, vegan single cream and homemade vegan basil pesto.
All those root vegetables and gourds in Morocco really got me in the mood for autumnal cuisine: warm soups, steamy stews, hearty comfort food, preferably orange in colour. Basically, if it isn’t either blended or cooked to death for twelve hours, I don’t want to know.
Pumpkins are magical vegetables. Aside from the joy of carving them into Ron Swanson, I love throwing chunks of pumpkin into curry, or roasting it with spices and serving with couscous. Pumpkin soup, however, is the real tart close to my heart.
Cajun-Spiced Pumpkin Soup
A small pumpkin, seeded, peeled and chopped.
A butternut squash, seeded, peeled and chopped.
A medium white onion, peeled and cubed.
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed.
Half a cup of orange juice.
Approx. two cups of vegetable stock.
A mean pinch of cayenne pepper.
2 tsp paprika.
1 tsp garlic granules.
1 tsp onion powder.
1 tsp oregano.
1 tsp thyme.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Throw a dash of olive oil into a generously sized pan. As you chop your pumpkin and butternut squash (a tiresome process – don’t forget to save the seeds), add to the hot oil and keep it moving. If it starts to stick to the bottom, turn the damn heat down and add a splash of water. When all of the pumpkin and squash has hit the pan, add the onion and fresh garlic. Cook until the onion is flaccid and translucent, by which time most of your pumpkin should be soft too. Now’s the time to drop a spice bomb: add the paprika, cayenne pepper and a generous grind of fresh black pepper. Turn the heat up and get those spices toasty for a minute or two, then dump in your vegetable stock and orange juice. Add your orange juice with caution: too much, and your soup will be too sweet. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer until the veggies are cooked through and the liquid has thickened a little. Add your onion powder, garlic granules and a little salt, then blend the shit out of it until it’s completely smooth. Toss in your herbs and taste: you may need to add more salt, pepper or orange juice.
Serve with drizzles of vegan single cream, vegan pesto and top with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Lime and Chilli Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Juice from one lime.
A mean lick of Cayenne pepper.
A squeeze of maple syrup (non-vegans can use honey).
A pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper.
Wash the pumpkin guts from the seeds and dry them off with a clean tea towel. Cover with the lime juice, cayenne pepper, seasoning and maple syrup. Mix really thoroughly to make sure every seed is coated in awesome sauce. Stick in a pre-heated oven at 180° and toast until caramelised and delicious.