This week columnist Annie West shares one of her favourite recipes: easy, cheap and tasty enough to keep the whole family quiet while you focus on your deadline.
I hope this recipe works for you as it does for me. It's been a great standby when I'm faced with a hungry family on the prowl for food when I'm busy trying to finish a book. It's one of those recipes that you can alter to your own taste. In fact there is no written recipe - it's one I devised over the years when I realised I really didn't like soup that tasted like boiled pumpkin, yet still wanted something quick and easy that would keep everyone quiet.
It's closing in for winter here now and I just made an enormous pot of this about 4 days ago. It went down a treat. I usually include:
a pumpkin (butternut for preference but it doesn't matter),
vegetable stock (I buy the vacuum packed containers),
an onion or two,
bacon or, if you prefer, chorizo
tinned chopped tomatoes (optional)
You can make this soup with a big chunk of pumpkin or with a whole pumpkin - just vary the amounts to suit. The instructions below suit a whole pumpkin.
Peel the pumpkin and chop into big pieces. I make slices between 1/2 - 3/4" thick. Lay the pieces on baking paper (optional but it cuts down the cleaning) on an oven tray or 2. Add a couple of peeled, whole cloves of garlic (I used 5 big cloves last time but my family adores garlic. If you don't enjoy it don't include).
Bake or grill in a moderate oven till a sharp knife goes in easily and remove from the oven. If I remember I turn the pumpkin over once during cooking but it doesn't matter. The aim is to get that nice, roast rather than boiled flavour. If you're likely to forget, set a timer for 20 mins then check again 10 mins later.
While the pumpkin is cooking, take your biggest saucepan and fry a couple of rashers of bacon (roughly chopped) and 2 large onions (roughly chopped) for 5-10 minutes. Add a handful or two of pecans and stir.
Add the pumpkin and garlic to the saucepan with 2 litres (approx 4US pints/3.5 UK pints) of stock. You can add a tin of chopped tomatoes if that appeals. Stir and heat through.
Blend the soup and season to taste. I find if I've used bought stock there's no need for extra salt.
Eat immediately or store in fridge or freezer for future use. If you've got a particularly thick soup just add a little extra water when you heat it. We serve it with hot buttered toast.
Enjoy! And of course, if you have a fave soup recipe of your own to share, I've love to hear about it!
Annie is celebrating winter in Australia with the news her new release PRINCE OF SCANDAL is Harlequin's Book of the Month! It's available from all the usual stores and you can read an excerpt or go in a contest to win a copy on her website.
She's thrilled that RAFE'S REDEMPTION is available now to North American readers (only from the eHarlequin site). This book was previously released elswhere as 'The Billionaire's Bought Mistress'. Here is the link to read more or buy it.