Halloween is more widely celebrated over here now, but the poor old Pumpkin gets a scary face and a tea light inside and what happens to all that nutritious Halloween superfood! My own child is far too young to understand the history of Halloween and much too young to knock on the door of complete strangers for sweets/candy!
So while a Pumpkin looks very cute all lit up, it is a superfood packed with beta-carotene which is the phyto-nutrient that gives Pumpkins their gorgeous orange colour along with an amazingly high Vitamin A content which can help to keep the immune system strong and a powerful natural anti-oxidant which is required by the body for maintaining eyes and skin and keeping mucus membranes healthy. Pumpkins are good source of vitamins B, C and E plus they have a good mineral content. All in all a fabulously healthy food!
Pumpkin seeds are also a fabulous source of concentrated nutrition, high in fibre and heart healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids with a high protein value along with vitamin B3, iron and zinc. These nutty tasting seeds are a great snack or ground up in a coffee grinder (I keep one especially for grinding seeds, oats, etc) and sprinkled on breakfast. I am saving the seeds from these Pumpkins and must google how to best separate them from their outer husks.
This soup makes a hearty supper, full of protein from the Butter beans, dunked with loads of fresh, crusty baguette (still warm when I bought it this afternoon!) and (optional) butter. This soup will be great for Miss ND for lunch too, it is a little thicker in texture and with the Butter beans to munch on too. I like a little chilli with mine (I like chilli flakes with most things!) but can add after, too much for little tastebuds!
Roasted Pumpkin and Butterbean Soup – Serves 4
For this recipe I roasted a Pumpkin which I cut into chunks (with the skin on) at 200C for around 40 minutes in a couple of roasting pans in an inch of water then covered with foil. Once soft, the pumpkin can easily be cut from the skin.
1.2 kg Roasted Pumpkin (weight with skin removed)
2 medium red onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp ground Cumin
½ tsp ground Ginger
500 ml hot vegetable stock
1 x 400g tin Butter beans
Italian mixed herbs
To serve: crème fraîche/Greek Yoghurt/Coconut milk/double cream
– Add the onions and garlic to a large saucepan and fry gently in olive oil for 10 minutes, add the roasted Pumpkin and fry gently for around 5 minutes until lightly caramelised.
– Add the Turmeric, Paprika, ground Cumin and ground Ginger to the pan, stir in and cook for a couple of minutes to allow the spices to blend into the Pumpkin.
– Pour in enough vegetable stock to cover the Pumpkin, season with salt and black pepper to taste and cook for around 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before placing in a blender and pureeing until smooth and creamy. I have invested in a Vitamix, it is a pretty amazing piece of equipment. I’m looking forward to putting it to great use soon!
– Place the pureed Pumpkin back into the pan and add the Butter beans and herbs and simmer until the beans are nice and hot. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve in pre-heated soup bowls and add either a dollop of creme fraiche (me), Greek Yoghurt (me), Coconut milk (me again) or double cream (Mr ND) to the soup.