Triple pumpkin soup

Triple pumpkin soup by the james kitchen
Triple pumpkin soup, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.
This is a great autumn soup. It is warming and nourishing, a little smoky and a little spicy. The right starter for a dinner or good on its own as a light supper. The austrian pumpkin seed oil adds a roasted flavour and a serious smoky while the pumpkin seeds provide a bite. The Steiermark region in Austria is very well renown for their pumpkin products, especially the oil and the big, dark green seeds of their very own variety of pumpkin, the Styrian oil pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo var. ‘styriaca’, also known as var. oleifera). Anyway, it has an aquired intense taste, that some people might need to get used to first. Once it has clicked you never want a pumpkin soup or other things without it. Use sparingly though, in a vinaigrette it tends to overpower everything.
Triple pumpkin soup
1 Hokkaido pumpkin
1-2 shallots
1 liter chicken or vegetable broth (made from scratch or a good stock cube)
salt, white pepper, piment d’espelette
pumpkin seed oil
pumpkin seeds (big ones or pepitas, if you have those)
crème fraîche if desired
Halve the Hokkaido, remove seeds and peel. Cut roughly into 2.5cm (1 inch) cubes and chop the shallots. Melt a generous knob of butter in a sauce pan and sauté the shallots untile they have become soft. Add the pumpkin pieces, stir around and add a lid to the pan. Stir from time to time. After about 10 to 20 minutes the pumpkin has become so soft that it could be smashed with a spoon. Puree in a blender, adding a bit of broth if need. Return to the sauce pan and heat up, adding enough broth until the right consistency is reached. Season with grated nutmeg, salt, white pepper, a pinch of piment d’espelette and a lug of pumpkin seed oil. To serve: sprinkle each bowl of soup with pumpkin seeds, let everyone pour their own pumpkin seed oil and add a spoon of crème fraîche if wanted.

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