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  • Writer's pictureChef Dylan

SOUTHERN STYLE PUMPKIN SOUP





This slightly spicy velvety smooth pumpkin soup is a wonderfully simple and delicious way to add some more vegetables into your diet. What’s more it’s remarkably cost effective.

My mother would often have a soup in the fridge and heat it up for us as an after-school snack. Dipping the toast soldiers into the soup on a rainy afternoon is what my childhood dreams are made of, especially in the cooler months. It can be served as a starter or main meal and is delightful in a mug with some buttered toast for a quick healthy lunch.


Did you know? Pumpkin are high in vitamin C, which can help the immune system fight off colds and flu, and potassium is great for helping blood flow and blood pressure. Throw in all the known benefits of chicken stock, and you have a simple meal that is not only healing but also tastes heavenly.


Chef Dylan tip: Don’t try to blend this soup when it’s hot in a bench top blender, as the heat will cause the lid to pop off, and you will have soup splattered all over the kitchen. If you don’t have a stick blender, you can simply smash the veg up with a potato masher. I often do it this way when I want to create a hearty dish with a more rustic mouthfeel.


Hollywood, LA 2018

I reach down to press the worn red button, which triggers an orange light to shine behind the slightly hunched over African American bus driver. I fling my backpack on and slowly make my way down the aisle towards the front. “Next stop Hollywood Boulevard” he imparts cheerfully. Holding onto the yellow railing, I exclaim, “You have exceptional driving skills, mate. That was some ride.” Breaking harder now, the bus slows to a halt. He turns to me and responds, “Thanks, man. I’ve been dodging LA traffic for 25 years now.” He reaches down and activates the doors. I hear the hissing sound of the doors opening, and while I make my way down the steps, the distinctive smell of hot brakes fills my nose. “Have a great day!” says the driver. “You too, thanks!” I reply.


Stepping down onto the sidewalk, the doors close behind me, and the bus disappears behind a thick cloud of diesel smoke billowing from the exhaust. It’s a cold, windy autumn morning. I turn my gaze upward towards the high grey clouds that blanket the sky, hoping the rain will hold off. Looking down now at the dark-coloured pavement flecked with white paint, I spy what I came here for, the paradigmatic example of Hollywood success, your very own rose-coloured star embedded in the ground. The first one I see has the name ‘Tim Allen' emblazoned in golden block letters, and beneath is an old-style icon of a video camera encased in a circle. Making my way up the street, the stars continue, and I pass countless names of people I’ve never heard of, like Michael Ansara, Anthony Anderson and Rick Baker, while others I recognise, like Drew Barrymore and Pierce Brosnan.


My stomach starts to rumble. I pull the sleeve away from my wrist and glance down at my watch, shocked it's already 11 am. Suddenly I realised the last food I had was on the plane 7 hours ago. I decided a nice bowl of soup would warm me up. I came across a posh burger-style restaurant named ’25 degrees’ located on the first floor of the historic Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. As I enter, I’m greeted by a smiley waitress. “Table for one, sir?” she asks. “Yes, please”, I nod. “Follow me”, she says, turning, and I’m led past an impressive 1900’s style bar flooded with natural light from the huge glass windows opposite. My giant backpack slightly bumps one of the maroon padded stools dotted beneath the elegant hardwood bar. I’m directed to sit at a small table with plush burgundy leather bench seating.


“Can I get you a drink, sir?”. “Just some tap water to start, please” I glance down at the menu and see the large variety of burgers on offer, yet my eyes light up when I discover what I’m really after. The ‘Soup and Sandwich meal’ is for a moderately priced $10. The waitress returns with a large glass of iced water balanced on a heavy black tray. She leans over and places it on the table. “Ready to order? “Yes, can I ask what the soup is today? “Oh gosh”, she stammers, seemingly flustered. “So sorry about that, I’m supposed to tell you that. Today is only my second shift here, but the soup is a Southern spiced pumpkin soup”. “Is it really spicy?” I ask. “No, it’s a mild Cajun-style”, she reassures me. “Ok, that sounds delicious! I'll have one of those, please”. “You want the 3 cheese or the vegetarian sandwich to go with that?”. “The 3 cheese, please”, I say decidedly. “And is that all?” she finishes. “Yes, thank you.” As she retreats, I pull out my journal and begin to jot down some of the wonderful things I’ve experienced, already very impressed with what America has to offer so far.


If you are not familiar with making soups, then this is a very easy way to start you off on your journey. Most of the cooking is done in the oven and on the stovetop, which means it’s very little work for the cook. It freezes remarkably well for up to 3 months and will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days.


PREP TIME: 10mins

COOKING TIME: 40mins

SERVINGS: 4


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbs CREOLE

  • 4 tbs olive oil

  • 300g Jap pumpkin, cut into 5cm chunks

  • 300g sweet potato, cut into 5cm chunks

  • 1 small brown onion, sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, diced

  • 1 ltr chicken stock

  • 4 tbs sour cream (optional)


METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C.

  2. Place pumpkin and sweet potato into a large bowl.

  3. Add oil and my CREOLE seasoning and toss to coat.

  4. Place pumpkin and sweet potato onto a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

  5. Remove from oven and set aside

  6. In a large pot on medium heat, add some oil and fry onion and garlic until fragrant, stirring often.

  7. Add in the roasted sweet potato and pumpkin, and chicken stock.

  8. Cook on medium for 15minutes stirring every now and then.

  9. Blitz soup with a hand blender until nice and smooth, or simply smash the veg.

TO SERVE


Ladle into soup bowls and add sour cream. Serve with buttered toast or a melted cheese toastie.

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