Pumpkin chilli and tarragon soup with celery and almonds

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 5 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 small pumpkin (around 300-400g)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 fresh birdseye chilli
  • 1-2 cups (0.25-0.5 litre) good quality vegetable stock (I use organic bouillon when I don’t have time to make my own stock. If you don’t use this organic bouillon make sure whatever stock you use in gluten free, vegan etc if you are trying to make this dish for the respective diet. You should always check the ingredients in a premade stock and you can do this by reading the labels)
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 onion

Optional topping

  • 1 onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1/4 cup flaked raw almonds
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

It’s as if nature knew we were more likely to get sick at this time of year so created the nutrient powerhouse that is the pumpkin. Not only is it a useful implement to help guide us home on dark evenings with the added bonus of potentially scaring our neighbours, but it is excellent for fighting cold and flu.

So if you’re looking for something to do with the carved out pumpkin sitting the corner of the room then make this wholesome and sweet Pumpkin chilli and tarragon soup with celery and almonds. The rich fullness of the pumpkin balances perfectly with the savory crunch of celery and the sweetness of the onions and almonds.

The bright orange colour of the pumpkin signals high levels of carotenoids – these antioxidants are key for our bodies to function and to help prevent premature ageing, cardiovascular diseases and other infections. Pumpkins are also one of the richest sources of plant based anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega 3s and beta-carotene, which are important for a strong immune system to help protect against colds and flu.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Pierce the pumpkin a few times with a fork or sharp knife then place it on a baking tray. Bake the pumpkin for about 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and slice in half, discard the stringy parts if necessary, removing the seeds to save for roasting if you wish.
  2. Place the two halves back in the oven, flesh side up, and cook for a further 40 minutes or until soft, opening the oven every now and then to allow the steam to escape.
  3. While the pumpkin is cooking roughly chop the garlic, onions and chilli. Place a pan on a medium heat with the avocado oil in. Sweat the onions in the pan for about 5-10 minutes then add the garlic for about 2 minutes so it is just slightly cooked. Take the pan off the heat then add the stock and tarragon to the mixture.
  4. Once the pumpkin is ready allow it to cool then peel the skin from the pumpkin flesh or scoop out the flesh – whichever works for you.
  5. Place the pumpkin, chilli and cooked onion mixture into the blender and process until smooth. You will need to adjust the stock to achieve your desired consistency.
  6. Place this blended mixture into a pan on a medium heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until cooked through, then serve. Or if you would like to save this soup for later decent it straight from the blender into air tight containers to freeze or pop in the fridge.

Optional Topping

  1. While the soup is simmering heat the avocado oil (1 tsp) in a frying pan on a medium heat. Chop up the onion (I like to chop my onions horizontally so you get the long rings, which add a noodle like texture to the soup) and celery (I like to chop this diagonally which allows the celery to soak up more flavour).
  2. Sauté the onion in the pan on a medium to high heat for around 8 minutes until they have just started to brown. Add the celery to the onions and cook for a further 4 minutes, then add the almonds and cook for a further minute. We only want the almonds lightly toasted.
  3. Decant the soup into individual bowls and spoon the onion, celery, almond mix on top. Enjoy!

Pumpkin-soup-with-sauteed-onions,-celery-and-almonds-1

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