I love this time of year as Pumpkins and Squash are in abundant supply. Don't just opt for the standard orange pumpkins that are sold for Halloween; other varieties are now becoming readily available so hunt them out at your local farm shop or farmer's market.
The 'Crown Prince' variety has a bluey-grey skin and dense orange flesh which has a lovely, almost nutty taste. 'Red Onion' is much smaller but again has a great flavour. Buy several different varieties to compare flavours; provided they are stored in cool, dry environment they should even keep for a few months.
The recipe below can be adapted for any pumpkin or squash you may have and is equally good for using up that left-over Halloween lantern!
One Pumpkin - weighing approximately 1.2 - 1.5kg
1 onion - chopped
Garlic 1-2 cloves to taste
850ml of Vegetable or Chicken Stock
Turn on the oven to 200 C / Gas Mark 6
Take your pumpkin and divide in half and then cut each half into quarters.
Remove the pith and seeds and place the pumpkin slices in a roasting tin and sprinkle with oil. Cover with foil and place in the pre-heated oven for approximately 50 - 60 minutes until the pumpkin flesh is tender, removing the foil about half way through the cooking time to allow the pumpkin flesh to gently brown and enhance the flavour.
When the pumpkin flesh is cooked through remove from the oven and allow to cool before scooping the flesh away from the skin (it should fall away quite easily) and roughly chop up the flesh.
Now take a large saucepan and gently fry off the chopped onion and garlic in oil or butter. If you like a little spice, try playing around with a little chopped chilli or dried spices such as cumin, coriander, ginger etc and fry off with the onion.
Once the onion is ready, add in the chopped pumpkin flesh and stir everything together.
Add the stock and bring up to a gentle boil, then turn down the heat and leave to simmer for around 20 minutes.
Finally, blitz the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth - usually best done in batches.
Notes: This recipe will work with pumpkin or squash but you may wish to reduce the amount of stock if you are using a smaller varieties.
Don't forget the seeds!! Roast them to make a great crunchy alternative to croutons or keep them as a healthy snack.
Sarah Johnstone is the subscriptions manager at Permaculture Magazine. She regulalry brings delicious foodie treats in to work to keep us all going!