Autumn is finally here, celebrate the season with Pumpkin and Tomato Soup. Any type of pumpkin or winter squash can be used for this recipe. Even better, this soup is a great way to use up the bits of pumpkin leftover from carving jack-o-lanterns! This soup is great with a loaf of crusty bread or Cheese and Apple Scones.
Pumpkins and squashes are widely used around the world, but are often ignored in the UK There is a vast variety of shapes, sizes and all have slightly unique flavours. Some of my favourites include the French warty types, green hakido, kuri or onion, crown prince and good old New England pie pumpkin. I love growing a variety of winter squashes and pumpkins, but if space doesn’t allow you can always stop by a local farm or farmers market and pick a few up.
Cutting and peeling squash can sometimes prove to be difficult, if this there are two tricks to make it a bit easier on you. First, if you are able to cut the squash in half, slice it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and place face down on a baking tray. Bake at the suggested temperature until a knife is easily inserted, let cool then scrape out the soft squash and discard the peeling. Second one, if slicing a squash in half proves to be difficult, simply place the whole squash in the oven at the suggested temperature and bake for 15 minutes. Remove, let cool and slice in half then proceed.

Pumpkin and Tomato Soup

2 tbsp light cooking oil (sunflower, vegetable, rapeseed)
500g pumpkin or squash, peeled and seeds removed
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
800ml vegetable stock (may need a bit more or less)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel and roughly chop pumpkin or butternut squash. Place in a roasting tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp of oil. Roast at 200C or Gas Mark 7 for about 20 minutes or until nicely brown and soft.

2. Chop the onions and celery and fry in 1 tbsp of oil until soft. Add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

3. Add tin tomatoes, roasted squash and enough vegetable stock to just cover the ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for about 20 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and carefully whiz using a hand blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more vegetable stock or cream if too thick. Add lemon juice or salt and pepper if needed. Top with a swirl of cream or some grated cheese!

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