Autumn pumpkins are in full seasonal swing. Despite the world not needing another pumpkin soup recipe, this one justifies its existence by virtue of the fact that the garnishes themselves are as much a part of the meal as the soup itself. Serving prepared components on top of a soup rather than cooked within it keeps the textures and flavors separate and yet complimentary. If blue cheese is not a crowd-pleaser in your home, substitute with cooked crispy bacon pieces.
½ med Jap pumpkin, deseeded, peeled & cut into lrg chunks
2 litres water
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 tsp salt
1 leek, the white end thickly sliced
50 g butter
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 best-quality organic vegetable stock cube
4 tbsp sour cream
100 g blue cheese, crumbled
4 sprigs fresh thyme, the leaves stripped from the stem
Preheat oven to 220 c.
Evenly place the pumpkin on an oven tray, lightly drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden and softened.
Bring the rice, water and salt to the boil, reduce to a simmer and gently cook with lid slightly ajar for 15 – 20 minutes until tender. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve.
In a medium saucepan, gently fry the leek in the butter with the ground cumin for 2 minutes and then add the cooked pumpkin, reserved rice cooking water and stock cube. Stir and then gently simmer for 10 minutes before pureeing.
Serve garnished with a spoonful of the cooked rice, a dollop of sour cream, a little blue cheese and fresh thyme leaves.