As with the Bolognese I use our fabulous Le Creuset casserole pot, but you could easily make this in a slow cooker, stock pot or any heavy based pan. The preparation at the beginning of this recipe are what gives this soup such a delicious blend of flavours. When frying spices be sure that they don’t burn and you want to cook them for long enough that it starts to smell warm and aromatic. This process awakens the true flavours that would be lost if thrown in with the water at the end.
I roast my pumpkin in the oven before adding it to the pot, you can do this in one of two ways; cutting it up into pieces and perhaps coating with some oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar OR you can put the whole pumpkin, skin and all, straight into the oven and roast it until it’s lovely and brown. Roasting the pumpkin whole is quick and easy and adds a delicious sweetness to the flesh, you really need to try it at least once.
I use dried red organic lentils and try and soak them for a few hours (or even overnight) before using but many people will tell you that it’s not really necessary. It is possible to use brown lentils or even what you can get in a can, just be sure to rinse them thoroughly before using.
I like to eat my soup with a nice thick slice of bread. I purchased a lovely Artisan loaf at the markets on Saturday that was flavoured with potato and rosemary which worked really well with this dish, failing that a hearty sourdough is ideal. For maximum yum butter the bread and place under the grill (broiler) for 5 minutes to give it that crunch that works so well with a hearty soup.
- 1 Pumpkin*
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3 teaspoons of Marsala (or your spice mix of choice, a blend of coriander, cumin and cinnamon is also nice)
- garlic to taste
- ½ white onion
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 5 cups of water (approx)
- 1 cup of vegetable stock
- 1 tblspn oil (I used coconut oil for this recipe)
- Heat your oven to 180 degrees and roast the pumpkin in whatever way you please.
- In a small bowl, combine Marsala with a teaspoon or two of water to create a paste.
- Dice onion and garlic.
- Heat oil and add onion. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the garlic.
- Add Marsala and fry lightly until aromatic (about 3 minutes).
- Add ½ cup water and bring to the boil.
- Add pumpkin and mix through. Put the lid on and allow to steam for 5 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and stir through.
- Add stock and water until all ingredients are covered.
- Stir through and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Put the lid on and bring to the boil, then cook slowly on low-medium heat for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with crusty bread, a teaspoon of Parmesan**, salt and pepper and a smile.
** Other than the Parmesan this dish is 100% vegan friendly. A nice vegan alternative would be to use some lemon zest and grated Brazil nut.