This is going to be one of a few huge posts. As a Mother's Day present, my sister and I were supposed to cook dinner for my mum and dad. Just a simple pumpkin soup, roast rack of lamb and molten chocolate cake.
She wakes me this morning at 11 and gives me the good news that we can expect another 4 people for dinner. I love a challenge. Change of menu. Urgent shopping. No time to cook. Decided to inaugurate some recipes on this here blog.
But there are just too many to do in one post, so
First up, pumpkin soup. Easy peasy. We start with with Anthony Bourdain affectionately terms the meez, or the mise en place. Basically, make sure you've got all your equipment and ingredients sorted out and placed about you in a convenient, ordered fashion.
Ingredients (Serves 8)
Butternut Pumpkin 1
Onion 1, chopped
Carrot 2, chopped
Chicken Stock 1.5L
Click on the picture to see the full versions - they're better, and come with the nifty Flickr note boxes so you can see what's what. One butternut pumpkin, two carrots, one onion and one and a half to two packets of chicken stock will make enough soup for about ten people. I had leftovers for eight.
Chop up your butternut pumpkin and your carrots and your onions. Dump them into your pot with a few lugs of olive oil (30ml if you need to be anal), close the lid and turn on the heat to low/medium-low, and just let them sweat for 20 minutes. Shake them about occasionally and make sure nothing's burning at the bottom.
They should look a bit like that after they're done sweating. Don't worry if some of the onions at the bottom look like they've burned a bit.
Pour in half your chicken stock (or 2 cups/500ml - doesn't really matter) and let it simmer away over low/medium-low for another twenty minutes. No need to worry about them, they'll take care of themselves.
After twenty minutes they should be nice and soft and smelling lovely. Take them out of the pot and place them into a bowl to cool down as you wash the pot clean.
Once they're cool enough place them, in batches, into your blender. I know that wasn't in the mise en place, but no blender, no soup. Live with it. Blend them into a smooth puree without your blender exploding or you scalding yourself.
Looking good already...almost done. Add in more chicken stock till the soup reaches your desired consistency. Some people say "coats the back of a spoon" but I could care less. As long as it's not too gloppy or runny they'll praise you anyway. For variations on flavour you could experiment with combinations of sake and mirin, or sherry wine, or any other sweetish liquor.
Garnish with herbs, cream, blood - whatever. Soup's done. Told you it was easy.
Refrigerate or freeze leftovers - soup tastes sweeter after you defrost it. It also thickens after it's been frozen, so remember to thin it out.