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A lovely, seasonal soup, perfect for those first chilly autumn days. I usually make the soup completely vegetarian and garnish with chorizo, or with blue cheese for vegetarians, but you can use chicken stock rather than wine if you like.
Serves 4 as a starter
For the soup
1 medium pumpkin (about 500g of pumpkin flesh, when peeled and seeded)
5 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
a pinch of dried crushed chilli
a sprig of rosemary, chopped
500ml dry white wine
30ml olive oil
Optional: an old parmesan rind or 20g grated parmesan
For the garnish
a few flaked almonds
either a small piece of chorizo, sliced into 12 rounds
or 20g blue cheese, chopped into 12 small pieces
Heat the oven to 200°C.
Peel the pumpkin, chop into chunks and remove the seeds and any stringy bits. Peel the garlic and put into a roasting tin along with the pumpkin, rosemary, cumin, chilli and olive oil. Season generously and mix, so the vegetables are well coated in oil. Roast for about 40 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft.
Tip into a blender and top up with the white wine (you may need to do this in two batches if your blender is not large). Blend until smooth. If you find the soup too thick, thin with a little water to your desired consistency.
Pour into a large pan and simmer gently for about 10 minutes until the alcohol from the wine has burnt off. If you are using the parmesan, add it at this point, but don't forget to fish out the rind before serving.
If using the chorizo, fry the slices in a little oil until crispy. Pour the soup into bowls, float 3 slices of chorizo (or 3 pieces of blue cheese) on top and scatter with a few flaked almonds.